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"Hush! I can hear something!"
"Probably the wind."
"Och! It's Thomas! Come on, the poor wee engine must be frozen to the frames in there!”
- ―Thomas, Donald, and Douglas
Thomas and the Missing Christmas Tree is the twenty-sixth episode of the second season. In the US, this episode was first released on the VHS release of Shining Time Station's 1990 Christmas special 'Tis A Gift in 1990.
It is the twenty-third of December and the final preparations are being made for a carol party to be held at Tidmouth. All the engines are working hard setting up the decorations. This year, the Fat Controller wants this carol party to be extra special.
The Fat Controller is waiting very impatiently when Thomas arrives. The Fat Controller tells Thomas that their Christmas tree has come and Thomas has to fetch it while Duck watches over Annie and Clarabel. Thomas is very excited and rushes off, collecting the tree safely, but on the way home, runs into a snow drift and gets stuck. Thomas knows that he must get back in time, and whistles, but cannot get out of the heavy snow. Suddenly, an avalanche erupts and buries Thomas and the tree.
Back at the yards, the engines are waiting for Thomas. His delay begins to make them cross. The Fat Controller quiets them down to tell them that snow has knocked the telephone lines down, and they must assume that he is stranded. Everyone now feels sorry, and Donald and Douglas puff away to save him. They soon reach a snow drift much deeper than the rest. A cry for help is heard, but Douglas thinks it is the wind. Hearing the cry carefully, they realise that they are at the drift where Thomas is buried.
Time passes as the workmen decide to free him. Thomas' driver and fireman, who had taken shelter in a nearby cottage, join the rescue, and Thomas is freed from the snow. Thomas follows the twins home, and arrive just as night falls. The Fat Controller rewards the engines by granting permission to sing carols. The engines happily chuff away to the station. Lights come on, and the Fat Controller declares three cheers for Thomas and his friends.
Harold soon joins the party and drops off Father Christmas, much to everyone's joy. As the carols begin, Thomas tells Percy that it was no fun getting stuck in snow, but it was all worth it for the celebration. Thomas then wishes everyone a Happy Christmas.
- Donald and Douglas
- Sir Topham Hatt (not named in Ringo Starr's US narration)
- Percy (does not speak)
- Toby (does not speak)
- Duck (does not speak)
- Annie and Clarabel (do not speak)
- Harold (does not speak)
- Father Christmas (does not speak)
- Edward (cameo)
- Henry (cameo)
- Gordon (cameo)
- James (cameo)
- Bill and Ben (cameo)
- Diesel (cameo)
- BoCo (cameo)
- Terence (cameo)
- Bertie (cameo)
- Trevor (cameo)
- Jem Cole (cameo)
- The Vicar of Wellsworth (cameo)
- Farmer Finney (cameo)
- The Policeman (cameo)
- Ffarquhar Sheds
- Suddery Castle
- Tidmouth Sheds
- The Watermill
- Shunting Yards
- Wellsworth (deleted scene)
- This episode is based on the story of the same name, released alongside the series in 1986.
- Father Christmas seems to be a dressed up model of the Fat Controller.
- Stock footage from Thomas, Terence and the Snow is used, as is mirrored stock footage from Thomas' Train.
- This is the last episode of the following things:
- The last episode narrated by Ringo Starr in the UK and Louise Raeder in Sweden.
- The last episode produced by Robert D. Cardona.
- The last episode made by Clearwater Features.
- Britt Allcroft's last episode as executive producer until the sixth season.
- The last episode until the seventeenth season episode, Kevin's Cranky Friend to have the same narrator for both the UK and US, excluding the episodes on New Friends for Thomas and Other Adventures and the original cut of the twelfth season.
- The last episode where Donald and Douglas' nameplates are on their smokeboxes until Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure.
- The last episode where Harold's blades are achieved using a transparent disk, starting from Season 3, his blades are now shown when he's flying.
- As Ringo Starr left the series before he had a chance to re-narrate this episode for the US, this is the only Starr-narrated episode released in the US without him formally re-recording certain lines. As a result, all lines mentioning the Fat Controller were omitted but not changed to mention Sir Topham Hatt, as had been done for Ringo's other US releases. This version can be found on the VHS release of Shining Time Station: Tis a Gift.
- A deleted scene shows Thomas smiling when he is pulled out of the snow drift.
- George Carlin's narration of this episode was again never featured on an episode of Shining Time Station. It first appeared on Thomas' Christmas Party and Other Favorite Stories.
- Thomas' cries for help whilst buried in the snow are not faded in George Carlin's narration. Thomas also says, "Happy Holiday!" instead of "Happy Christmas!"
- Daisy and Henrietta are the only characters introduced in the first two seasons not to appear in this episode.
- A scene of Donald and Douglas passing the watermill was to be used in this episode, but it was cut and used as the opening shot in The Deputation.
- This episode has more deleted scenes than any other episode.
- When the engines whistle loudly, Donald has Edward's cross face on.
- When the narrator says, "Then they set off once more to finish their long journey," on the left side of the screen the space between the leaves and the tree is green.
- In the aerial shot of the station when the lights come on, Bertie is stationary, at the back of the shot and missing a Christmas hat, and Terence's eyes are also noticeably wonky as they are horizontally pointed away from each other. Not long after there's a close-up of both of them with Trevor, and Bertie is now wearing a hat.
- In the aerial shot of the station, Annie and Clarabel don't have hats on, but later gain them.
- A wire was used to hold Harold when he lands.
- BoCo's left eye is scratched.
- When the narrator says, "Everyone cheered and the party began," Thomas was next to Harold instead of in front of the station. Then, at the end of the episode, he is in his original position again. Edward is also seen in the station instead of in front of the station and Henry, Gordon, and BoCo have disappeared.
- Donald and Douglas' nameplates are missing in several scenes.
- In the restored version, a camera tripod is seen when Donald and Douglas set off to find Thomas.
- When the engines head to the Christmas party, Thomas' head lamp isn't on and the other engines are not wearing head lamps at all.
- In the restored version, in the shot of Thomas and Percy towards the end, a blue light behind them was covered up. This is likely to be a crew member standing in the background.
- Thomas' eyes are wonky throughout the episode.
- In the shot of Bill and Ben with Diesel, Ben's nameplate is loose.
- While "'Tis a Gift" VHS features Ringo Starr's UK narration with all lines mentioning the Fat Controller omitted, the footage remains unchanged. As a result, some of the scenes of the Fat Controller linger for longer than necessary, and one shot of him is shown with no accompanying dialogue.
- In the overhead shot of the station, Terence's eyes are wonky.
- When Sir Topham Hatt tells the engines they can go enjoy the carols, Donald and Douglas are missing their nameplates, Donald's left eyebrow (viewers' right perspective) is missing, and Thomas' face was crooked.
- In the overhead shot of the station, none of the trucks next to Annie and Clarabel have faces, but when we see the shot of Trevor, Terence, Bertie, Annie and Clarabel, a truck next to Annie gains a face.
- When Donald and Douglas set off to rescue Thomas, the Fat Controller was standing by the track opposite them. In the next shot, the Fat Controller has already gotten back to his car on the other side of the turntable long before the twins run round it.
- Thomas' face moves when he says, "Happy Christmas/Holiday, Percy!"
- The Fat Controller: Quickly, now. Our Christmas tree has arrived just in time! I want you to fetch it, Thomas. Duck can look after Annie and Clarabel until you get back.
- Thomas: Will we be able to sing carols, too?
- The Fat Controller: We'll see.
- Thomas: It would be nice to sing carols again.
- The Fat Controller: [to the engines whistling impatiently] Silence! Thomas left the works safely but snow has brought the telephone lines down. We must assume he is stranded!
- Thomas: [in snow] Help!
- Donald: Hush! I can hear something.
- Douglas: Probably the wind.
- Thomas: Help!
- Donald: No! Listen!
- Thomas: Over here!
- Donald: Och! It's Thomas! Come on! The poor wee engine must be frozen to the frames in there!
- The Fat Controller: [to the engines] As a reward for all your hard work, you may go and enjoy the carols. Be quick now!
- The Fat Controller: One! Two! Three!
- [the station then lights up as if it were magic, with decorations and Christmas lights]
- The Fat Controller: Ladies, Gentlemen, and children! I give you three cheers for Thomas the Tank Engine and all his friends who have made this occasion possible!
- Thomas: [last line] It's no fun getting stuck in the snow. But it was worth it for this party. Happy Christmas, Percy! Happy Christmas, everyone! (US: Happy Holidays, Percy! Happy Holidays, everyone!)
- Books - Thomas and the Missing Christmas Tree
- Ladybird Books - Thomas and the Missing Christmas Tree
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