Toad's Bright Idea is the sixteenth (twentieth in Australia) episode of the eighteenth season.
Brendam Docks is very busy, but Gator is waiting there for his ship to come in and is getting very bored. He wants a job to do, but Salty tells him that he needs to be there in case his ship arrives. Gator starts to think that he is not being given a job because he does not look like an engine, but Porter reassures him that nobody is worried about how he looks.
That evening, Gator is still waiting when the Dock Manager arrives. He explains that Oliver has broken down on Duck's branch line on the way to the docks with some trucks. He asks if Gator can fetch the trucks for him. Gator is delighted to finally be given a job. The Dock Manager warns Gator to be back before first light.
On the way to Oliver, Gator is so pleased to have a job, that he does not notice his lamp flicker off. Gator pulls up in front of Oliver, who shouts out in surprise. Oliver explains that he could not see where Gator was because his lamp was off. Gator realises that his lamp has turned off and his driver turns it back on again. Gator goes to turn around on the loop and meets Toad at the end of the train. Toad introduces himself and soon they set off.
Gator and Toad have not gotten very far, when Gator's lamp turns off again. Toad explains that travelling at night without a lamp is very dangerous and it needs to be turned back on. Gator stops to have his lamp turned back on near a junction. Then, James approaches the junction with The Flying Kipper. He cannot see Gator properly and, because of Gator's unusual shape, mistakes him for a monster. Gator's lamp is then turned back on and they set off once again.
As Gator and Toad trundle along the line, the lamp suddenly goes out again. Gator decides not to tell Toad so that he does not have to stop and make himself even later. However, Percy puffs past with the mail train and asks Gator where his lamp is. Toad tells Gator that the lamp needs to be turned back on, but Gator is sure it does not matter; he has to be back at the docks by morning. Gator approaches a junction which worries Toad. The junction leads to the gravel pits and Toad thinks there might be gravel on the tracks. Toad sternly tells Gator to slow down, but Gator ignores the brake van. Toad has had enough and applies his brakes. Gator has to stop otherwise he will give Toad a wheel flat. Once they have stopped, Toad stubbornly refuses to go any further until Gator's lamp is turned back on. Gator loses his temper and decides to leave Toad behind. Toad knows it is dangerous to travel without a brake van and so does Gator, but that does not stop him from leaving Toad at the junction.
As Gator goes through the junction, there is gravel on the tracks, just like Toad had said. Gator grinds to a halt and realises that Toad had been right all along. Gator reverses back to Toad who is still fuming. Gator apologises to Toad who says he had only been doing his job. Gator is upset; he now knows that he cannot travel without a working lamp and will not make it back to the docks on time. Toad suddenly has a brainwave and offers to lend Gator one of his lamps. Gator is pleased. The lamp's lens is changed from red to white and put on Gator's bufferbeam. Gator is able to take the train all the way to Brendam Docks without any more incidents.
At the docks, the Dock Manager is relieved to see Gator who arrives just in time. Gator explains that he had had trouble with his lamp until Toad lent him his own. The dock manager is pleased with Toad and praises him. Toad says that he will be sad to see Gator leave when his ship comes in, but Gator says that it will not be for a while yet. Gator then apologises to Toad again and explains that he was in a bad mood due to everyone thinking he is a monster. Gator then realises that Toad had been the only other vehicle on the island who had not mistaken him for a monster at first sight. Toad admits that he had been a little startled by Gator, but usually he is not easily scared. Then a loud ship's horn makes them both jump, causing Gator's original lamp to start up again and they both have a good laugh together.
- The Dock Manager
- Thomas (cameo)
- Bill and Ben (cameo)
- Cranky (cameo)
- Duck (mentioned)
- This episode takes place during Tale of the Brave. Stock footage from the special is used, although the dialogue was re-recorded; however, Kerry Shale's screaming voice of James remains intact in the US dub.
- In Tale of the Brave, Gator and Percy go after James after he gets scared by Gator, but in this episode, it was cut out, probably for time.
- This is the first episode to be set during the events of a special.
- This is the last episode until the twentieth season episode, Ryan and Daisy where Thomas appears, but doesn't speak.
- Going by production order, this is the twentieth episode of the eighteenth season.
- This is the last episode along with No Steam Without Coal to use the Original Engine Roll Call and theme song on PBS Kids airings in the US. From Who's Geoffrey? and The Truth About Toby onwards, the modern theme tune is used.
- Ben Small is credited in the UK credits despite none of his characters speaking in that dub.
- Gator's load seems to be different from what it was in Tale of the Brave. In the special, his trucks had tarpaulins covering them. Here, there are no tarpaulins, and his load is exposed. However, in the closeup of Gator when James first sees him in the episode, viewers can see his tarpaulin load behind him, as stock footage is used, meaning that this is a continuity error.
- In the special, Percy and Gator are travelling in the same direction, whereas in this episode, they pass in opposite directions.
- In the special, Gator told Percy he was going to work on Duck's Branch Line in the day, but here, he is not told to go to Duck's Branch Line until later at night.
In Other Languages
|Japanese||ゲイターとトード||Gator and Toad|
|Polish||Wspaniały pomysł Anatola||Toad's Great Idea|
|Spanish||La brillante idea de Toad||The Brilliant Idea of Toad|
|Russian||Блестящая идея Тода||Bright Idea Toad|
|Ukrainian||Яскрава Ідея Тода||Bright Idea Toad|
|Dutch||Het Slimme Idee Van Padde||Toad's Smart Idea|
|Hungarian||Toad Remek Ötlete||Toad's Cool Ideas|
|Romanian||Ideea stralucita a lui Toad||Toad's Brilliant Idea|
|Czech||Toadův skvělý nápad||Toad's Great Idea|
|Thai||โท๊ดจ้าวความคิด||Toad's Great Ideas|
|Norwegian||Toads lyse idé||Toad's Bright Idea|
|Portuguese||A brilhante ideia de Toad||The Brilliant Idea of Toad|