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- “Harold wants to get rid of us."
"He doesn't need tunnels!"
"Don't worry; he's just counting sheep!"
"Counting sheep? Pah! He's counting how many engines he can get rid of!”
- ―Gordon, Henry and Percy
Thomas and the Rumours, spelt Thomas and the Rumors in North American releases, is the seventeenth episode of the fifth season.
Some children are upset that their playground has been closed, but before Thomas can tell the others, Percy butts in with news that Harold has been hired to show a special visitor around Sodor. A few days later, Gordon is going to collect his train when he sees Harold and goes down the wrong line and into a tunnel under repair. Thomas is worried that Gordon will be scrapped, but the Fat Controller laughs and says that Harold was hired so the man could find a new site for the playground from the air. The man declares that the sand cleared from the tunnel will be perfect for the playground; after that, the engines know that Harold is being really useful.
- Sir Topham Hatt
- The Special Visitor
- Bridget Hatt (not named)
- Harold (does not speak)
- Duck (cameo)
- Annie and Clarabel (cameo)
- Stephen Hatt (cameo)
- Jem Cole (cameo)
- Farmer Trotter (cameo)
- Tidmouth Sheds
- The School
- The Windmill
- Standard and Narrow Gauge Tunnel Runby
- Stepney's Branch Line
- The Mountain Line
- Sodor Hay Company
- This episode was adapted from the magazine story, Rumours and Speculation by Andrew Brenner. However, BoCo and Daisy were replaced with Thomas and Henry for unknown reasons.
- Stock footage from Trucks is used.
- When Gordon puffs onto the wrong line, the music in the UK dub fades in later and fades out earlier than the US dub and other international versions.
- The episode was released on the Spooks and Surprises VHS a day before it aired on TV.
- When Thomas puffs into Tidmouth Sheds, the decals on one of the milk wagons beside him are incorrectly placed higher up.
- When Percy first appears, he rushes in from a dead end.
- When Percy is on the turntable, part of its fencing is snapped.
- Studio equipment can be seen in the top-left corner in the close-up of Henry before he enters the tunnel.
- When Thomas puffs out of Callan, a signal tilts slightly to one side.
- When the children tell Thomas about the playground, one child looks happy.
- The title card for the US version uses the UK spelling of rumours.
- When Thomas passes the playground, there is a sign saying: "Playground closed until further notice," at the back of the playground. However, when Gordon passes the playground, the sign is gone.
- Percy's roof is lifted during the evening scenes at Tidmouth Sheds.
- Percy's eyes are wonky when Gordon replies about counting sheep.
- The special visitor's small scale model is wearing a grey suit while his large scale model is wearing a yellow suit.
- Henry's eyes are wonky when Harold leaves the sheds at the end of the episode.
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