Duck Takes Charge is the eighth episode and the movie of the second series.
One day in the sheds, Percy is eager to tell a disinterested Gordon and James some news. Both quickly tire of Percy's usual manner and the tank engine tells them that as the work in the yard is getting too hard for him, the Fat Controller is planning to bring a new bigger engine in to help. James is unimpressed, telling Percy that if he worked harder instead of chatting, the yard would be a happier place. Percy then leaves to do his work.
As he works, Percy grumbles to himself that, since he reversed at a signal, the larger engines now consider him to be a "silly little engine" and often order him about. Percy wants to teach them a lesson, but does not know how to do it. He then works very hard all day and by the afternoon he is worn out. After bringing some express coachesto the station, he sees the Fat Controller on the platform who notes that Percy looks very tired, which Percy confirms. The Fat Controller cheers Percy up by telling him the new engine is bigger than him and can probably manage the work alone. He then asks Percy if he would like to help Thomas and Toby build the new harbour which cheers Percy up straight away.
Soon the new engine arrives. The Fat Controller asks the engine his name and the engine introduces himself as Montague, but tells the Fat Controller he is often called "Duck" due to his supposed waddle and declares that while he does not believe he has a waddle, he admits to liking Duck better than Montague. With that, the Fat Controller agrees that the new engine will be known as Duck. Percy arrives and the Fat Controller asks Percy to show Duck around.
Duck does his work quietly as he brings some coaches to the station, leading Gordon, James and Henry to decide to boss him about like they do to Percy. Gordon and Henry then start to leave the station on either side of Duck, quacking and blowing steam at him. As Percy sees everything and is cross, Duck takes no notice and just wants to wait until the larger engines get tired of their teasing. Duck then asks Percy if the larger engines boss him about and Percy confirms they do. Duck decides to take charge and put a stop to it and tells Percy what they will do.
That afternoon, the Fat Controller sits at his desk looking forward to having toast for tea. Suddenly, he hears a horrible noise coming from the yard and looking out his window, he sees Percy and Duck blocking the turntableand preventing an angry Gordon, James and Henry from entering the sheds. Sir Topham Hatt grabs his hat and rushes to the yard.
At the sheds, Gordon, James and Henry are furiously wheeshing and whistling loudly when the Fat Controller arrives and demands silence before demanding an explanation from Duck and Percy. Duck politely explains that, as a Great Western engine, he prefers to do his work without any fuss, but wants the other engines to know that he and Percy will only take orders from the Fat Controller. As the three larger engines start whistling angrily again, the Fat Controller silences them. The Fat Controller then tells Duck and Percy that while he is pleased with their work today, he is not pleased with their behaviour tonight, as they have caused a disturbance. Gordon, Henry and James snicker at Percy and Duck's dilemma, but Sir Topham Hatt turns back to face the three larger engines and admonishes them too as their actions have been much worse, they made the disturbance and then tells them that Duck is right, that he is the one to give orders, not them. With that, the three engines quickly fall back into line.
Soon Percy is sent to work at the harbour on Thomas' line, leaving Duck to do the work alone, something he manages easily.
- Sir Topham Hatt
- Edward (mentioned)
- Thomas (does not speak)
- Troublesome Trucks (cameos)
- Toby (mentioned)
- Tidmouth Sheds
- Knapford Yards
- Sodor Shipping Company
- Sir Topham Hatt's Office
- Knapford Harbour (mentioned)
- This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, Percy the Small Engine.
- This is the first episode where a character reads the first line instead of the narrator.
- A Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus poster is seen at Knapford.
- In the US, this episode aired before Percy and the Signal, meaning that American viewers would not understand the latter being mentioned.
- The final frame of this episode was used as the credits backdrop on all the odd-numbered episodes in the second series.
- Inside the Fat Controller's office, there is a picture of an LMS Jubilee locomotive.
- A first series-style truck can be seen when Duck leaves the yard with Percy. It is also the final time in which these trucks were seen like this.
- This marks the only time that Duck is referred to as Montague until the seventeenth series episode, The Thomas Way.
- The close-up of the Fat Controller folding his hands at Knapford was used for the "Next Story Coming Up Soon!" card in between double bills.
- In a picture, Henry and Gordon are not pulling any coaches as they leave the station to taunt and blow steam at Duck.
- In the panning shot of Percy, Gordon and James, the Breakdown Train on the far left is derailed.
- In the first close-up of Gordon, his eyes look misaligned and he has red paint on his brake pipe and coupling.
- When Percy puffs away to get the coaches, studio equipment is slightly visible at the top of the screen.
- In the Norwegian version, the narrator says Percy was getting some trucks, when he was in fact getting some coaches into Knapford station.
- When Percy and Duck first puff away, a crew member's shadow briefly passes in front of them.
- Henry's front right break pipe is tilted before he and Gordon leave Knapford.
- Duck's eyebrows are missing when the engines "wheesh" him. Henry also has a different whistle sound, which is Duck's in six half steps higher in pitch, in both versions. In the George Carlin narration, Henry's whistle can be faintly heard.
- Due to portions of the script being taken word for word from the original book, the narrator says, "Duck and Percy calmly sat on the points outside the shed, refusing to let the engines in," Despite the fact that Percy is standing on the turntable and Duck is on a line outside a berth.
- In the close-up shots of the Fat Controller at Tidmouth Sheds, his left eyebrow appears to be loose.
- When Duck says to Percy "We'll do it later," Percy's roof is lifted up.
- When the narrator says "Gordon, James and Henry were furious," the three engines are facing away from the sheds. Gordon is also missing his tender and his eyes are slightly misaligned.
- In the close-up of Henry at Tidmouth Sheds, James disappears.
- When the Fat Controller yells "Stop that noise!" the two men standing in front of Percy are out of scale, as they are half his height.
- In a picture of Percy and Duck at Knapford, the branch line coaches Duck shunted to platform two have been replaced with a brake van. Additionally, some express coaches can be seen at platform one, even though the line was clear when Percy puffed through the station.
- When Duck brings the coaches into Knapford, James' eyes are misaligned.
- During the Tidmouth Sheds scene, Duck's handrails are gold instead of silver.
- As the Fat Controller leaves his office, the background to the outside is right at his door instead of a few inches or feet away.
- Percy: Do you know what?
- Gordon: What?
- Percy: Do you know what?
- Gordon: Silly. Of course I don't know what, if you don't tell what "what" is.
- Percy: The Fat Controller/Sir Topham Hatt says that the work in the yard is too heavy for me. He's getting a bigger engine to help me.
- James: Rubbish! Any engine could do it, if you work more and chatted less, this yard would be a sweeter, a better and a happier place.
- The Fat Controller: Hello, Percy. You look tired.
- Percy: Yes, Sir. I am, Sir. I don't know if I'm standing on my dome or on my wheels.
- The Fat Controller: You look the right way up to me. Cheer up. The new engine is bigger than you and can probably do the work alone. Would you like to help build my new harbour? Thomas and Toby will help, too.
- Percy: Oh, yes, Sir! Thank you, Sir!
- The Fat Controller: (to the bigger engines, who are whistling impatiently) Stop that noise!
- Gordon: They won't let us in!
- The Fat Controller: Duck, explain this behaviour.
- Duck: Beg pardon, Sir, but I'm a Great Western Engine. We do our work without fuss. But begging your pardon, Sir, Percy and I would be glad if you would inform these, um, engines that we only take orders from you.
- (the big engines furiously blow their whistles again)
- The Fat Controller: (to the bigger engines) SILENCE!!! (US narrations: QUIET!!!) (to Percy and Duck) Percy and Duck, I'm pleased with your work today, but not with your behaviour tonight. You have caused a disturbance.
- (Henry, Gordon and James are embarrassed as the Fat Controller turns to them)
- The Fat Controller: (to the bigger engines) As for you, you've been worse! You made the disturbance! Duck is quite right. This is my railway and I give the orders!
- Buzz Books - Duck Takes Charge
- Magazine stories - Duck Takes Charge
- Ladybird Books - Thomas and Trevor/Duck Takes Charge
- My Thomas Story Library - Duck (discontinued)
Home Media Releases:
- Thomas Breaks the Rules and Other Stories (Ringo Starr’s narration)
- Thomas and His Friends Get Along and Other Thomas Adventures
- Thomas & Friends Classic Volume 2