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Muddy Matters is the fifteenth episode of the sixteenth season.
It is the day of the Farmer's Fair on Sodor. The Fat Controller arrives at Tidmouth Sheds to give the engines their duties for the day. One engine is to take Farmer McColl's sheep to the fair and that engine will have his photograph taken for the daily newspaper. When James hears this, he immediately volunteers for the job. The Fat Controller agrees and tells James that the fair starts at teatime and he must not be late.
Farmer McColl is waiting as James arrives at the farm. He tells James to make sure that his sheepdog, Katie, and his sheep are kept clean so that they will be featured in the newspaper. Farmer McColl goes on to tell James to take the fastest and flattest track to the fair so as not to upset the sheep. James promises to keep the animals clean and races away.
Soon James arrives at a junction. There were two tracks leading to the fairground; one that is wet and muddy and one that is dry, but old and bumpy. James remembers that Farmer McColl had told him to take the flat tracks, but doing so will make him, Katie, and the sheep dirty. So James decides to take the dry, bumpy track. The sheep are bounced around and, unbeknownst to James, the latch on the cattle wagon slides open.
At Maron, James meets Emily. James stops to boast about his special and the sheep run out of the wagon and along the station platform. Emily points it out to James, and James can only watch as the sheep clatter through a gap in the fence and run down the road. Katie gives chase, but James calls her back as he wants to keep her as clean as possible. James sets off to find the sheep. He soon finds them eating grass at the bottom of a nearby field. Then he is faced with a dilemma; the fastest track to the field is wet and muddy. James decides it will be best to take the long, dry track so that he can stay clean for the photograph.
After quite some time, he pulls up on the track closest to the field. He is just in time to see the last of the sheep walking away. Katie barks, but James demands her to stay in his cab so that she will not get dirty. James soon finds the sheep again in another field. Katie barks and James is pleased; he thinks if Katie barks, the sheep will come to her. The sheep do go to Katie and James, who is delighted that his plan has worked, blows his whistle. The whistle scares the sheep and they race through the mud in the field. James is very sad; he had promised to keep the sheep clean and deliver them to the fair, but now they are dirty and running away. Thomas and Percy pull up next to James on their way to the fair. Percy tells James that Farmer McColl is waiting, very excited to see his sheep in the show. James realises it doesn't matter whether or not they are dirty, they just have to be there. James orders Katie to round up the sheep and meet him back at the McColl Farm. Katie runs off through the mud and James races to the farm, puffing straight through muddy puddles.
He arrives at the McColl Farm looking very dirty. Katie has rounded up the sheep and James' driver herds them back into the cattle truck and locks the door. James sets off down the fast and wet track to the fairground.
At last, James arrives at the Farmer's Fair. The Fat Controller is surprised to see James looking so dirty, but the photographer is happy; a photograph of a hard-working engine and sheep and sheepdog straight from the fields is just what he was hoping for. James is delighted and the photographer takes a photograph of James, Katie, the sheep, the Fat Controller, and Farmer McColl which makes it onto the front page of the Sodor Gazette.
- Sir Topham Hatt
- Farmer McColl
- The Photographer
- Edward (cameo)
- Henry (cameo)
- Gordon (cameo)
- Rosie (cameo)
- Stanley (cameo)
- Charlie (cameo)
- Belle (cameo)
- Lady Hatt (cameo)
- Stephen Hatt (cameo)
- Bridget Hatt (cameo)
- Jem Cole (cameo)
- Dowager Hatt (cameo)
- Allicia Botti (cameo)
- The Duke and Duchess of Boxford (cameo)
- The Mayor of Sodor (cameo)
- Mr. Bubbles (cameo)
- Some Sodor Brass Band Members (cameo)
- A Railway Inspector (cameo)
- The Railway Coal Inspector (cameo)
- The Bargeman (cameo)
- The Fireman (cameo)
- The Tree Specialists (cameo)
- The Teacher (cameo)
- The Schoolchildren (cameo)
- The Ginger-haired Boy (cameo)
- The Blond-haired Boy (cameo)
- Sodor United Football Team (cameo)
- Dowager Hatt's Friends (cameo)
- The Great Composer (cameo)
- The Lady with the Big Hat (cameo)
- Albert's Wife (cameo)
- Victor (portrait cameo)
- Tidmouth Sheds
- Farmer Trotter's Pig Farm
- McColl Farm
- Sodor Dairy
- Whispering Woods Halt
- Brendam Docks (portrait)
- Sodor Steamworks (portrait)
- Ben Small as Thomas
- Keith Wickham as James, Percy and Sir Topham Hatt
- Teresa Gallagher as Emily
- Matt Wilkinson as Farmer McColl and the Photographer
- Martin Sherman as Thomas and Percy
- Kerry Shale as James, Sir Topham Hatt and the Photographer
- Jules de Jongh as Emily
- William Hope as Farmer McColl
- One of the pictures in the office at the end of the episode is of Victor from Percy's Parcel and the other is of Thomas from Creaky Cranky.
- The scene where James is told what to do by Sir Topham Hatt was shown on The X Factor spin-off show The Xtra Factor on October 21st, 2012 and narrated by Gary Barlow.
- When Emily is seen at Maron, she has three of her coaches coupled to her instead of the normal two seen in other stories.
- This episode marks the last appearance of several characters:
- Mr. Bubbles' last appearance until Thomas & Friends in 4-D: Bubbling Boilers and his last appearance in a TV episode until the twenty-first season episode, A Most Singular Engine.
- Allicia Botti and the Railway Coal Inspector's last appearances to date.
- The last appearance of Emily's coaches until the nineteenth season episode, Toad and the Whale.
- When James takes the bumpy and long tracks, the points are set against him.
- Two of Emily's coaches are out of the platform area at Maron.
- For most of the episode, the Sodor Gazette is referred to as the Sodor Daily.
- Emily: Will Katie and Farmer McColl's sheep be in the photograph too?
- James: They might be... in the background.
In Other Languages
|Norwegian||Sølete spesial||Muddy Special|
|Spanish||Asuntos lodosos||Muddy Affairs|
|German||Bloß nicht schmutzig werden||Just Do Not Get Dirty|
|Polish||Kłopoty z błotem||Trouble with Mud|
|French||Gare aux tâches!||Beware of Tasks!|
|Italian||La Foto del Giornale||The Newspaper's Photo|
|Russian||Проказницы овечки||Wives of Lamb|
|Hungarian||Sáros ügy||Muddy Affair|
|Romanian||Noroiul Contează||It Matters the Mud|
|Korean||진흙탕은 싫어요||Muddy Hate|
|Portuguese||A via enlameada||The Muddy Road|
|Chinese||浑身泥巴也很好||It's Good to Have Mud on Body|