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- “Well, it wasn't anything, really. Water's nothing to an engine with determination.”
Percy Takes the Plunge, sometimes known as Percy Takes a Plunge in some American releases, is the eleventh episode of the second season. It aired in the US on the Shining Time Station episodes: Mapping it Out in 1989 and Schemer Goes Camping in 1993.
One day at the harbour, a tired Henry is looking to rest in the sheds after a hard day's work, but instead of peace, he finds Percy telling Bill and Ben about the time he braved bad weather to help Thomas' passengers return home. However, Percy is embellishing the tale, as he speaks about how he braved through flood waters using the phrase "Water's nothing to an engine with determination." The twins shower Percy with praise and Henry angrily tells them to leave, as the sheds are only for engines belonging to the Fat Controller.
Bill and Ben leave and Percy is angry, having been enjoying himself. However, Henry just tells Percy how silly his line about water and determination is. Percy leaves, but not without quickly reminding Henry of when he refused to leave a tunnel because of the rain.
Later, Percy meets Thomas at the quayside who is looking at a board saying "DANGER! Engines must not pass this board." Thomas tells Percy that they must not go past it and tells him about the time he passed a board and fell down a mine. Percy cannot see a mine, not realising that the foundations of the quay have sunk and the track now slopes downward into the sea. As a result Percy, who is now feeling very cheeky, remarks that the board is silly and makes a plan to pass it.
As he brings some trucks to the harbour, Percy asks them to bump him when they arrive at the quay. The trucks happily agree, having never been asked to bump an engine before. Percy's plan is to pretend to stop at the quay and then have the trucks bump him past the board after which he can make them stop. However, Percy, in his foolishness, has forgotten that trucks are never to be trusted.
At the quay, the trucks bump Percy hard enough that both his crew jerk off the footplate and push him past the board. Percy is frantic and tells the trucks he has had enough foolishness, but there is no chance of stopping and is sunk downward into the sea. Later, the Fat Controller scolds Percy for his deliberate disobedience and carelessness. Percy wants to get out, but the Fat Controller explains that they must wait until high tide and hopes that this will teach Percy a lesson. When night falls, cranes are brought in to pull Percy from the sea, who is now too cold, weak, filthy and stiff to move.
The next morning, Percy is taken to the works to be cleaned and mended along with Henry's goods train, who finds the incident very amusing after Percy's earlier boasts. Henry tells Percy he needs more determination and that perhaps he will like it better next time. Percy, however, knows there will be no "next time".
- Knapford Harbour
- Gordon's Hill (deleted scene)
- The Works (mentioned)
- Henry's Tunnel (mentioned)
- The Lead Mines (mentioned)
- This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, The Eight Famous Engines.
- In the restored version, Bill and Ben leave the shed a few seconds earlier.
- References to the first season episodes, The Sad Story of Henry and Down the Mine and the then-unadapted third season episode, Percy's Promise are made.
- The "DANGER" sign is reused from Down the Mine.
- Two pictures show Percy frowning and covered in mud and his left (viewer's right) cylinder is loose while he is at the harbour with Thomas. The first one is from this episode's Buzz Book adaptation and it shows both at the quay in the same spot when they talked about the board. Another one from the view master version shows them at a warehouse. These may have been deleted scenes towards the end of the episode.
- In the scene with Thomas and Percy at the harbour, a truck with the letters "LMS" on it can be seen and also there is a first season style truck right next to it.
- A barge has "Terrey" written on it; possibly a reference to crew member Terence Permane.
- This is the only second season episode with Henry's toothy smile from season 1.
- Ringo Starr's US narration was not released on home video until 2001 when it was included on Best of Percy. This recording was also used on a DVD that came with the Take Along play-set based on this episode.
- The Fat Controller's large scale model is used when he scolds Percy after plunging into the water. As a result, he appears to be taller than the boat he stands on.
- When Henry orders Bill and Ben to leave, he states that the shed is for "the Fat Controller's engines," but Bill and Ben are owned by the Fat Controller. This is an artifact from the original story; the engines Percy was talking to were engines from the Other Railway instead of Bill and Ben.
- The narrator says that Percy ran off to the harbour singing, but he was already at the harbour.
- When the camera is panning down on Thomas, several trucks in the background are derailed.
- Before Percy takes the plunge, there is a shot of him already on the quayside, but in the next scene, he slides past the board.
- In the restored version, Bill and Ben's whistles and chuffing sounds are still heard after they leave.
- Percy is smiling when he slides past the board.
- Just as Percy plunges into the sea, two of his trucks become derailed, and one of them bounces.
- When Percy is pulled from the sea, Diesel makes a brief cameo but he was not introduced until the next episode.
- When Percy is lifted out of the water, a workman has blu-tak on his neck.
- When Henry enters the shed, his tender bounces.
- During Percy's trip to the harbour, his brake van changes.
- During the episode, Percy's left (viewer's right) cylinder is loose.
- Ben's nameplate is peeling off when Henry puffs in.
- In the close-up of Percy being pushed, a reflection of a hand can be seen in the water pushing the train. Also, in this scene, Percy's eyes are wonky.
- Before Percy goes straight into the water, his brakes are applied even though his driver and fireman jumped out and right about when he falls into the water, his wheels are moving again.
- Wooden Railway (discontinued)
- Take Along (discontinued)
- Buzz Books - Percy Takes the Plunge
- Ladybird Books - Percy and Harold/Percy Takes the Plunge
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