|This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the Thai DVD, the Chinese DVD or the magazine story.|
- “Perhaps, you'd let me take the Deputy Minister home, after all! I can learn from my mistakes, sir. I just need to be given one more chance.”
- ―Spencer apologising to the Fat Controller and the Deputy Minister
Spencer's VIP is the fifteenth (eighteenth in Australia) episode of the eighteenth season.
One morning, the Fat Controller comes to Tidmouth Sheds to tell his engines that a deputy minister is coming to Sodor to present the controller with an award for "Services to Transport". He warns his engines to be on their best behaviour. Gordon volunteers to collect the deputy minister, but the Fat Controller explains that Spencer is already bringing the very important person.
Spencer is speeding his way over from the mainland with the very important visitor. Spencer promises to get him to Knapford ahead of schedule. Spencer is so busy trying to go as fast as he can, that he ignores signals and speeds ahead of Edward. This causes confusion at Wellsworth Junction where the signalman sends Spencer down the branch line. It's not long before Spencer finds himself at the Sodor China Clay Pits. Timothy, Bill and Ben are surprised to see Spencer who concludes that there must have been a mistake.
Eventually, Spencer makes it to Knapford Station very late. The deputy minister is not impressed at all with his transportation. He then says that he will not travel back to the Mainland with Spencer. Gordon overhears and offers his services which annoys the Fat Controller a bit; it is his job to decide which engine does which job. The Fat Controller and the deputy minister head off as Thomas and James arrive. They both think that they could be chosen.
It is not long before all the engines on Sodor are rushing around trying to prove how fast they can be, hoping that they will be chosen to take the minister home. Back at Knapford Station, Spencer watches all the other engines rushing about. He starts to feel very sorry for himself and wishes that he had done things differently.
Meanwhile, James is approaching Wellsworth Station at high speed. James screeches to a stop in the station and the carriages bang into each other. The passengers are not happy with their bumpy stop at all. Gordon pulls up just in time to laugh at James. However, James is quick to point out that Gordon has stopped before the platform, meaning that the passengers cannot disembark from the Express at all. On the Little Western line, Duck runs a red signal and comes buffer-to-buffer with Oliver who is not happy. Elsewhere, Thomas is making the silliest mistake of all. He is being refilled with coal when he moves forwards. Coal pours down all over Annie and Clarabel.
Later on, at Knapford Station, the Fat Controller is not happy with his engines' performances. He says that when they hurry around they are negligent and make more mistakes. He says that none of the engines deserve the privilege of taking the deputy minister home. Spencer speaks up and asks if he can do the job. He says that he has learned from his mistakes and asks if he can have a second chance. The deputy minister agrees that Spencer should be given a second chance, as should the engines on the Fat Controller's railway. He says that he will come back the following day.
The deputy minister does indeed come back the next day. All of the engines are going about their work as normal and no mistakes occur at all. The minister is very impressed and calls it a fine railway. He then presents the Fat Controller with a special trophy and all the engines cheer.
- Bill and Ben
- Annie and Clarabel
- Sir Topham Hatt
- The Deputy Minister
- Toby (cameo)
- Hiro (cameo)
- Belle (cameo)
- Porter (cameo)
- Salty (cameo)
- Henrietta (cameo)
- Toad (cameo)
- Cranky (cameo)
- The Dairy Manager (cameo)
- The Teacher (cameo)
- The Bird Watcher (cameo)
- The Ginger-haired Boy (cameo)
- One of Dowager Hatt's Friends (cameo)
- The Welsh Bird Watcher (cameo)
- The Lady with the Big Hat (cameo)
- The Female Puppet Show Entertainer (cameo)
A man who loses his hat also speaks. He is voiced by Matt Wilkinson in the UK and Tim Whitnall in the US. Some passengers can be heard, too. They are voiced by Teresa Gallagher in both narrations.
- The Mainland
- Island of Sodor
- Tidmouth Sheds
- Vicarstown Bridge
- Wellsworth Junction
- Sodor China Clay Company
- Sodor Dairy
- Animal Park
- Brendam Docks
- Sodor Shipping Company
- The Coal Hopper
- The Little Western
- Ben Small as Thomas
- Keith Wickham as Edward, Henry, Gordon, James, Percy and The Fat Controller
- Teresa Gallagher as Emily, Annie, Clarabel and some passengers
- Matt Wilkinson as Spencer and man who loses his hat
- Tim Whitnall as Timothy and The Deputy Minister
- Steven Kynman as Duck
- Joe Mills as Oliver
- Jonathan Broadbent as Bill and Ben
- Martin Sherman as Thomas and Percy
- Kerry Shale as Henry, Gordon James, and Sir Topham Hatt
- William Hope as Edward
- Jules de Jongh as Emily
- Teresa Gallagher as Annie, Clarabel, and some passengers
- Steven Kynman as Duck
- Joe Mills as Oliver
- Tim Whitnall as Timothy, the Man who loses his hat, and The Deputy Minister
- Jonathan Brodbent as Bill and Ben
- Glenn Wrage as Spencer
- The diesel locomotive on the trophy was also seen in the form of a Christmas decoration in the seventeenth season episode, The Missing Christmas Decorations.
- Going by production order, this is the eighteenth episode of the eighteenth season.
- Parts of the episode are similar to the second season episode, Wrong Road.
- In Spencer's coach, the Deputy Minister is reading a newspaper titled, Sodor Times.
- According to Tim Whitnall, he tried out for voicing Edward in the US version of this episode, but did not make the final cut.
- When Thomas filled his bunker up with coal, a sound effect of the coal being loaded into James' tender from the Trouble on the Tracks PC game is used.
- Edward's bogie wheels spark when he applies his brakes, but those wheels are not fitted with brakes.
- When Spencer first arrives at the clay pits, three open-topped trucks are on the ground rather than the rails.
- When Thomas passes Spencer regretting at Knapford, Clarabel's face is static.
- James' brake coach is a darker shade than the rest of his coaches.
- Oliver's trailing wheels spark when he brakes, but those wheels aren't fitted with brakes.
- In one scene of Edward braking, his coaches disappear.
- Throughout the episode, the crossovers and gantry signals at Knapford move in different spots or disappear.
- Wellsworth Junction has two signalboxes when it only needs one.
- When the Fat Controller makes his announcement at Tidmouth Sheds, his assistant's animation is continually replayed.
- When Spencer goes through Kellsthorpe, the road next to the station is missing.
- At the ending of the panning shot of Gordon arriving at Wellsworth for the second time round, a black border line to the right of screen suddenly appears.