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Duck Takes Charge is the eighth episode of the second season.
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 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 notes to himself that, since he accidentally 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 the express coaches to 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 offers to send Percy to help Thomas and Toby on the branch line to help them 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. 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. Percy sees everything and is cross, but Duck 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 turntable and preventing an angry Gordon, James, and Henry from entering the sheds. The Fat Controller grabs his hat and rushes to the yard.
At the sheds, Gordon, James, and Henry are furious and start whistling loudly when the Fat Controller arrives and commands silence before demanding an explanation from Duck and Percy. Duck politely explains that, as a Great Western engine he likes to do his work without any fuss but wants the other engines to know that he will only take orders from the Fat Controller. The three larger engines start whistling angrily and the Fat Controller orders them to be quiet again. The Fat Controller then tells Duck and Percy that he is pleased with their work, but scolds them for causing the disturbance. He then tells off the larger engines for making the disturbance, and tells them that Duck is quite 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 Thomas' line, leaving Duck to do the work alone, something he manages easily.
- This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, Percy the Small Engine.
- A "Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus" poster is seen at Knapford.
- In Ringo Starr's narration, when the big engines were quacking, actual quacking noises are heard, in George Carlin's narration, its him shouting duck noises.
- 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 Season 2.
- Inside Sir Topham Hatt's office, there is a picture of a Black 5.
- A first season-style truck can be seen when Duck leaves the yard with Percy.
- The closeup of Sir Topham Hatt folding his hands at Knapford was used for the "Next Story Coming Up Soon!" card in between double bills.
- 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 wonky.
- 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 in the UK version.
- The narrator says, "Duck and Percy calmly sat on the points..." but they are not; Percy is on the turntable and Duck is on a line outside a berth.
- Percy's roof is lifted up when Duck says "We'll do it later."
- When the narrator says "Gordon, James and Henry were furious," Gordon is missing his tender. His eyes are also slightly wonky.
- 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 and some Express Coaches can be seen at platform one even though the line was clear when Percy puffed through the station.
- Buzz Books - Duck Takes Charge
- Magazine stories - Duck Takes Charge
- Ladybird Books - Thomas and Trevor/Duck Takes Charge
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