|This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the US/UK DVD, the Taiwanese DVD, or the magazine story.|
Muddy Matters is the fifteenth episode of the sixteenth season.
It is the day of the Farmer's Fair on Sodor. The Fat Controller arrives at Tidmouth Sheds to give the engines their duties for the day. One engine is to take Farmer McColl's sheep to the fair and that engine will have his photograph taken for the daily newspaper. When James hears this, he immediately volunteers for the job. The Fat Controller agrees and tells James that the fair starts at teatime and he must not be late.
Farmer McColl is waiting as James arrives at the farm. He tells James to make sure that his sheepdog, Katie, and his sheep are kept clean so that they will be featured in the newspaper. Farmer McColl goes on to tell James to take the fastest and flattest track to the fair so as not to upset the sheep. James promises to keep the animals clean and races away.
Soon James arrives at a junction. There were two tracks leading to the fairground; one that is wet and muddy and one that is dry, but old and bumpy. James remembers that Farmer McColl had told him to take the flat tracks, but doing so will make him, Katie, and the sheep dirty. So James decides to take the dry, bumpy track. The sheep are bounced around and, unbeknownst to James, the catch on the cattle wagon slides open.
At Maron, James meets Emily. James stops to boast about his special and the sheep run out of the wagon and along the station platform. James can only watch as the sheep clatter through a gap in the fence and run down the road. Katie gives chase, but James calls her back; he wants to keep her as clean as possible. James sets off to find the sheep. He soon finds them eating grass at the bottom of a nearby field. Then he is faced with a dilemma; the fastest track to the field is wet and muddy. James decides it will be best to take the long, dry track so that he can stay clean for the photograph.
After quite some time, he pulls up on the track closest to the field. He is just in time to see the last of the sheep walking away. Katie barks, but James demands her to stay in his cab so that she will not get dirty. James soon finds the sheep again in another field. Katie barks and James is pleased; he thinks if Katie barks, the sheep will come to her. The sheep do go to Katie and James, who is delighted that his plan has worked, blows his whistle. The whistle scares the sheep and they race through the mud in the field. James is very sad; he had promised to keep the sheep clean and deliver them to the fair, but now they are dirty and running away. Thomas and Percy pull up next to James on their way to the fair. Percy tells James that Farmer McColl is waiting, very excited to see his sheep in the show. James realises that it does not matter whether or not they are dirty, they just have to be there. James orders Katie to round up the sheep and meet him back at McColl Farm. Katie runs off through the mud and James races to the farm, puffing straight through muddy puddles.
He arrives at McColl Farm looking very dirty. Katie has rounded up the sheep and James' driver herds them back into the cattle truck and locks the door. James sets off down the fast and wet track to the fairground.
At last, James arrives at the Farmer's Fair. The Fat Controller is surprised to see James looking so dirty, but the photographer is happy; a photograph of a hard-working engine and sheep and sheepdog straight from the fields is just what he was hoping for. James is delighted and the photographer takes a photograph of James, Katie, the sheep, the Fat Controller, and Farmer McColl which makes it onto the front page of the Sodor Gazette.
- Sir Topham Hatt
- Farmer McColl
- The Photographer
- Edward (cameo)
- Henry (cameo)
- Gordon (cameo)
- Rosie (cameo)
- Stanley (cameo)
- Charlie (cameo)
- Belle (cameo)
- Lady Hatt (cameo)
- Dowager Hatt (cameo)
- Bridget Hatt (cameo)
- Jem Cole (cameo)
- Alicia Botti (cameo)
- The Duke and Duchess of Boxford (cameo)
- The Bargeman (cameo)
- The Fireman (cameo)
- Mr. Bubbles (cameo)
- Some Sodor Brass Band Members (cameo)
- A Tree Specialist (cameo)
- The Teacher (cameo)
- Sodor United Football Team (cameo)
- One of Dowager Hatt's Friends (cameo)
- One of the pictures in the office at the end of the episode is of Victor from Percy's Parcel and the other is of Thomas from Creaky Cranky.
- The scene where Sir Topham Hatt arrive at Tidmouth Sheds was shown on The Xtra Factor and narrated by Gary Barlow.
- In Germany, this episode is titled "Just Do Not Get Dirty". In Poland, it is titled "Trouble with Mud". In Norway, it is called "Muddy Special".
- This episode marks Mr. Bubbles and Alicia Botti's last appearances to date.
- This marks Stanley's last appearance in the series until Thomas the Quarry Engine.
- James cannot choose which tracks to take.
- When James takes the bumpy and long tracks, the points are set against him.
- James could've just went slow on the straight track if he didn't want to splash mud all over himself and the sheep dirty.
- Brakevans should have been added to Thomas, Percy and James' trains.
- Two of Emily's coaches are out of the platform area at Maron.
- For most of the episode, the Sodor Gazette is referred to as the Sodor Daily newspaper.
- Emily: Will Katie and Farmer McColl's sheep be in the photograph too?
- James: They might be... in the background.