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Lady Hatt's Birthday Party

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"Well, thank you, my dear. I knew this was my special birthday party, but I didn't know it was fancy dress!"
— Lady Hatt greeting her husband
LadyHatt'sBirthdayParty68
Lady Hatt's Birthday Party
Director(s)

David Mitton

Producer(s)

Britt Allcroft
David Mitton

Writer(s)

Britt Allcroft
David Mitton
David Maidment

Narrator

Michael Angelis (UK)
Alec Baldwin (US)

Air date

September 17th,
1998 (UK)
November 26th,
1998 (AUS)
January 14th,
1999 (US)

Previous episode

A Better View
for Gordon

Next episode

James and the
Trouble with Trees

Lady Hatt's Birthday Party is the fourth episode of the fifth season.

Plot

One Summer's Day, Bertie asks Thomas and Percy if they've noticed something different about The Fat Controller. Percy tells Bertie that he saw The Fat Controller staring into the clouds this morning, and he wonders why. It was Lady Hatt's birthday and the Fat Controller had a new outfit to wear especially to the birthday party. Lady Hatt tells him not to be late, and her husband tells her that he'll be spic and span and right on time.

The Fat Controller is leaving work early to attend the party at Kirk Ronan. He tells the stationmaster that he'll be taking the car when the engines are busy. He thinks it's reliable, but his mood soon changes when his car becomes stuck in a pothole. He decides not to change the tire because it'll dirty his suit and it'll never do The Fat Controller then sees Caroline and explains the situation and hitches a lift in Caroline. Caroline doesn't like going fast, and she breaks down. George the Steamroller then arrives and insults Caroline, but his driver is more polite to The Fat Controller and offers him a ride to Thomas, who is just down the line. George enjoys rolling along the road, but not The Fat Controller, who quickly becomes covered in oil. George suddenly loses control and crashes into a muddy ditch close to where Thomas is taking on water and the Fat Controller is catapulted waist-deep into the mud.

Thomas had never seen The Fat Controller in such a mess, and he asks Thomas' driver for a ride, but Thomas' fireman had taken ill, so The Fat Controller offers to be Thomas' fireman. He worked hard, and coal dust and soot flies everywhere, and at last, Thomas arrives at Kirk Ronan, just in time. The Fat Controller quickly buys a bunch of flowers for the party, and as the clock strikes three, The Fat Controller arrives, tired but triumphant. He gives his wife the flowers, and she is most grateful, and she knew it was her special birthday party, but she didn't know it was "fancy dress." Everyone laughs, and then the party begins.

Characters

Locations

Trivia

  • During the scenes where the Fat Controller rides in his car and Caroline, music is heard in the US and Japanese versions but not the UK version.
  • In the US version, the sounds made by the Fat Controller's car, Caroline, and George are barely audible.
  • When the Fat Controller arrives at Lady Hatt's party, "Happy Birthday to You" is heard playing in the background.
  • This is the first episode in which Lady Hatt has a speaking role and the first time she is referred to by name.
  • One of the flowers the Fat Controller buys is really a stem of broccoli.
  • This episode marks Caroline and Jem Cole's last speaking roles to date.

Goofs

  • When Caroline overheats, she lurches backwards and overheats again in slow motion.
  • Bulgy's Bridge has rails underneath it.
  • When Lady Hatt says "I didn't know it was fancy dress" one of the people laughing is missing their eyebrows.
  • Nothing is said about the Fat Controller's car or George after their accidents (although George had his driver with him) and the request for help for Caroline is never followed up on.
  • When the narrator says that George was enjoying "rolling along the lane", he looks angry. In the same scene, wires are visible on George.
  • When George crashes, the Fat Controller falls head first into the mud, but in the following scene, he is sinking feet first.
  • Jem Cole doesn't have any eyebrows.
  • Thomas' driver looks happy when the narrator says, "I'm afraid our fireman is taken ill."
  • When the narrator says, "Later that day, the Fat Controller changed into his new suit", the Fat Controller is missing one of his eyebrows.
  • The clock strikes four times instead of three.
  • When Thomas is taking on water, his coupling rod is crooked.
  • For the rest of the episode after George crashes, the Fat Controller has no eyebrows.
  • When Thomas wishes "Good Luck!" to the Fat Controller, his driver is wearing glasses even though he was not earlier.
  • It is said that Caroline spluttered with fury, but she looks sad.
  • When George drives into the mud ditch, the Fat Controller suddenly disappears in one frame of film before the shot of him falling out.

In Other Languages

Language Name Meaning
Norwegian Lady Hatts bursdagsselskap Lady Hatt's Birthday Party
Swedish Birthday Celebration
Japanese ハットきょうふじんのたんじょうび Lady Hatt's Birthday

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