As a follow-up to my last post, let me tell you about the background of "Thomas and Friends" and about the movie that comes 7 years later after "Calling All Engines", a movie called, "Day of the Diesels".
Again I will use a review from the fantastic site, Sodor Island Fansite and tweak it to the view of the diesels:
It’s another idyllic, happy summer’s day on the Island of Sodor. Henry is pulling a goods train, Emily is pulling a passenger train on the Branch Line, and Thomas is puffing happily along the tracks. Everyone is happy and enjoying the sunshine. But the happy atmosphere changes very quickly as Thomas sees the blue sky turning black, and the air turning thick and smoky – there’s a fire at Farmer McColl’s farm!
Thomas races up to find Percy already there helping to fight the flames, using water from his tanks. The Firemen, Farm Workers and the Fat Controller, who is organising the efforts to save the farm building, fight the flames valiantly, but it’s not enough. Percy is worried – but from out of the smoke, a bell rings loudly as help hurries toward them. It’s a new engine called Belle, who has arrived just in time to help fight the fire with her special water cannons.
Belle blasts the building with her big water cannons and begins to turn the tide against the raging flames. Thomas and Percy are amazed at what she can do and look on in amazement. Very soon, the fire is out and everyone is safe again, but the three engines are thick with soot and dirt from the smoke. The Fat Controller congratulates them for their effort, and sends them to the Washdown for a scrub – but Belle can’t move. She’s used all her water fighting the fire. Thomas kindly offers to shunt her to the Steamworks with Percy – who reluctantly agrees, despite being late for his mail trucks.
Sir Topham Hatt is pleased with Belle – but he knows that she cannot fight fires on her own. Belle knows just who could help – her friend, Flynn the Fire Engine. The Fat Controller agrees and goes to make the arrangements for Flynn to come to Sodor, leaving Thomas with the task of showing Belle around the Island... whilst Percy is left to deliver the mail on his own.
The next day, Thomas begins spending the entire day with Belle. But meanwhile, poor Percy is left to feel sad and alone. Friendly Diesel sees Percy feeling low at the Docks, and takes pity when he sees Percy again at Knapford Station, pointing out how much fun Thomas and Belle are having together – without Percy’s company...
Diesel meets Percy again at the Steamworks, where Thomas and Belle are laughing and chattering with Victor. Belle asks Diesel if the Diesels have a place just like it. Diesel is sad and makes mention of the dilapidated Dieselworks, before slipping away quietly. Racist Thomas tells Belle that Sodor Steamies don’t go to the Dieselworks because it’s a ghetto: not a very nice place to visit – and it’s full of devious Diesels... once again, Thomas puffs away to shunt trucks with Belle, without speaking to Percy. This makes the little green engine very sad indeed.
When Percy is delivering mail at Wellsworth Station, Diesel oils up again and Percy feel even worse by realizing that Thomas has no time for him anymore, but Diesel does. Percy asks Diesel if he would like to deliver the mail with him – but Diesel kindly declines the invite, saying he wished he could, buthe has to go to the Dieselworks and see his friends there, once again, leaving Percy feeling lonely and friendless.
The next day, Sir Topham Hatt gives Percy the special job of delivering Flynn’s hose to the Search and Rescue Centre. While he is waiting at the Docks, Diesel rolls up alongside him again – this time, seeing Percy’s sadness and loneliness, Diesel tells Percy that his friend at the Dieselworks is eager to meet him, and wants him to visit. This cheers Percy up, and puts a happy smile on Diesel’s face as well... he can see his friendship is making Percy happy!
But he scurries away just as Thomas and Belle puff into the Docks. This time, Thomas stops to chat with Percy – but declines Percy's invite to come with him to deliver Flynn’s hose to the Rescue Centre. He and Belle are to take the children to the seaside for a day out at Bluff’s Cove. Percy feels cross at being left out, and heads off to deliver the hose to the Rescue Centre. But on the way, he’s faced with a difficult choice.
On his way to the Rescue Centre, Percy arrives at a Junction. The right track will take him to the Rescue Centre – the other to the Dieselworks... all the while, Percy is thinking about what Diesel and Thomas have said. There are good reasons to go to the Dieselworks, but there are also Thomas' racist reasons to stay away from it. But Percy’s loneliness overwhelms him and he chooses to go to the Dieselworks, instead of delivering Flynn’s hose straight to the Rescue Centre.
Percy is unsure when he reaches the Dieselworks, but creeps in cautiously toward the entrance past the dirty old buildings and worn out scrap metal lying scattered around the yard. Percy feels brave for being in such a strange and scary place, but this is shortlived as he comes closer and closer toward the Dieselworks building... and face to face with the smirking Diesel 10!
Diesel 10 sees Percy’s insecurities and flatters him, telling him it is an honor to have him at the Dieselworks, before leading Percy into the Dieselworks to stop for a while. There, he meets two new Diesels who he has never seen before – Dart and Den, who run the operations at the Dieselworks. Percy and the Diesels chat for a very long time, and Percy nearly forgets about delivering the hose to the Rescue Centre for Flynn. Diesel 10 assures him he needn’t worry – and orders Dart to take it for him instead.
Just then, Mavis is shunted in for repairs by Salty. Mavis is confident that Den will fix her up, but Salty passes a comment on how poor his facilities and tools are – which makes Den feel sad. Percy suggests that they ask Sir Topham Hatt for a new Dieselworks. Diesel 10 uses the opportunity to explain the ‘plight’ of the Diesels to Percy – and tells him that the racist Sir Topham Hatt won’t listen to Diesels, he only listens to steam engines. Percy then resolves to ask Thomas to ask Sir Topham Hatt, knowing that Sir Topham Hatt always listens to Thomas, and hurries off to find him.
Meanwhile at Brendam Docks, Flynn is being unloaded by Cranky with a crowd of engines waiting to see him arrive. Percy arrives at the Steamworks and pulls up alongside Thomas, eager to tell him all about Diesel 10 and the Dieselworks, before he is interrupted by Sir Topham Hatt, who introduces Flynn. Thomas tells Percy that he has been asked to show Flynn around the Island, as he had done with Belle – and puffs closer to his new friend to chat – leaving Percy alone and sad. Poor Percy puffs slowly out of the Steamworks and back to Tidmouth sheds.
The following morning, Percy puffs back to the Dieselworks where Diesel 10 is eager for news and developments... which Percy cannot give. But Diesel 10 finds something else to manipulate Percy with when Dart bashes into Happy Hook – the Dieselworks’ defective crane. Diesel 10 casts up the fact that the Steam engines have Kevin at the Steamworks – whilst they have nothing of use. This sends Percy racing off again to find Thomas, in the hopes that he will speak to Sir Topham Hatt – but instead, he finds Kevin at the Steamworks.
Percy explains that the Diesels don’t have a working crane at the Dieselworks, and encourages Kevin to come with him and work there instead – telling him that he’d be a ‘hero’ to them. Kevin is impressed – but before Percy can say anything else, Thomas puffs in asking about Flynn’s hose – it’s not at the Search and Rescue Centre... Percy tries to tell Thomas that his new friend delivered it, and also tries to explain about the Dieselworks, but once again, Thomas is too busy to listen and puffs over to Victor instead to gossip about the hose not being in the right place.
Kevin is still keen on Percy’s idea of him being a ‘hero’ and tells him that he wants to go with him to the Dieselworks. But before Percy can say anything more – Victor scolds them both for chatting and sends Percy on his way to find Flynn’s hose. Percy first checks at the Sodor Search and Rescue Centre, just to make sure that Dart has not placed the hose in the wrong shed - but it soon becomes apparent that it is not there at all.
So Percy puffs all over the Island all day long, but he cannot find any sign of the hose. Finally, he puffs home, tired and exhausted to Tidmouth Sheds, where there is a very big surprise waiting for him.
There is Flynn standing bold as brass in Percy’s berth at Tidmouth Sheds, right next to Thomas. Flynn kindly explains that Thomas said it would be OK for Flynn to wait there until Percy came back, but Percy still feels very sad and upset – Thomas doesn’t feel like his best friend anymore, and he decides it’s time to spend the night elsewhere. Percy tells Flynn to stay in his berth, and puffs away to help his new friends at the Dieselworks – after a quick stop-off at the Steamworks first...
Percy puffs quietly into the Steamworks where Kevin is tidying up. Percy tells Kevin that the Dieselworks need him right away. Percy loads Kevin onto a flatbed and they slip past the sleepy Victor and on to the Dieselworks, where Diesel 10 is delighted to see his new crane, and he sets to work with Dart and Den to repair Mavis at once. But Diesel 10 is sad to learn that Percy still hasn’t asked Thomas to speak to the Fat Controller – and encourages him to bring Thomas to the Dieselworks, where they will have his ‘full attention’.
The following morning, Percy puffs proudly back to work and into Knapford Station where the other engines are waiting. Thomas hurries in – he says has been very worried and been looking everywhere for Percy, but Percy doesn’t care and tells the other engines that he spent the night at the Dieselworks with his friends who have time for him. The other engines are shocked when Percy tells them about Diesel 10 – but there’s another surprise in store – Gordon thunders in with the news that Kevin has disappeared from the Steamworks. Percy calmly explains that Kevin is at the Dieselworks – but then remembers that he didn’t ask Victor’s permission to take him...
However, Kevin is having a wonderful time at the Dieselworks, playing ‘Swing The Hook’ with Happy Hook. But Diesel 10 is not keen on the game at all and orders Kevin to get back to work at once, much like Victor has to do at the Steamworks.
Finally, Percy has the attention of the other engines at the Steamworks, and tells everyone about the state of the Dieselworks and why he took Kevin. Victor is still upset – he needs Kevin at the Steamworks. Percy decides to use this to his advantage – he tells Victor that Thomas must go to the Dieselworks to bring Kevin back. But Victor refuses to let the matter lie and steams crossly away to speak to Sir Topham Hatt about the matter at once, whilst Percy steams back to the Dieselworks ahead of Thomas.
Diesel 10 is pleased that Percy has finally done what he wanted, and is even more pleased to learn that Victor has left the Steamworks... Diesel 10 decides it’s time to do something ‘very special’ – they’re going to take over the Steamworks, and Percy is going to lead them! Diesel 10 is convinced he can use the Steamworks as a bargaining tool against Sir Topham Hatt – and continues to tell Percy that he’ll be a ‘hero’ for helping the Diesels’ cause. Percy is concerned for Thomas, but Diesel 10 assures him that no harm will come to either him or Kevin.
Thomas puffs into the Dieselworks to collect Kevin, but neither Den, Dart or Diesel 10 are prepared to co-operate with the racist Steam engine. Den and Dart tell Thomas to come with them to the back shed, where they can take care of him. Percy is soon leading the charge of Diesels out of the Dieselworks and on to the Steamworks, ready for their takeover, whilst Thomas is led to the back shed by Dart and Den, still calling out for his friend’s help. This time though, it’s Percy’s turn to ignore him.
The Steamworks is completely deserted when the Diesels arrive. Percy feels proud to have helped his new friends, and is sure that Diesel 10 will praise him for a job well done – as Diesel 10 is thrilled to finally take control of the Steamworks, proclaiming that they will never give it back. The Diesels proceed to run amok in the Steamworks, leaving poor Percy feeling very silly and ashamed. Now Percy decides to go back to the Dieselworks.
But when he arrives at the main shed of the Dieselworks, he finds it’s caught fire. He then hurries to find Belle and Flynn at the Search and Rescue Centre and urges them to help him. But there’s a problem – they still haven’t found Flynn’s hose. Percy tells them that Dart was supposed to deliver it for him, but Rocky tells him that he never did. Percy realises his mistake for giving it to slow Den, but knows that the hose must still be at the Dieselworks.
Percy leads Belle and Flynn to the Dieselworks to fight the blaze, which has spread throughout the building. Percy hears Thomas whistling for help and hurries to the back shed, where Den and Dart are standing guard. Percy demands to know where Flynn’s hose is, and Dart tells them it’s behind the trash around the back. Belle and Flynn hurry to retrieve it, whilst Percy orders Dart and Den to let Thomas go and reminds them that the Dieselworks in on fire, and they will all be in danger if they stay where they are... Den and Dart move quickly after that!
Thomas and Percy buffer up to Kevin’s flatbed and hurry away from the back shed. They arrive to find Flynn and Belle valiantly fighting the flames at the front end, and cheer them on until they win the day and save the Dieselworks from the blaze. And when the work is done, Percy and Thomas prepare to steam back to the Steamworks and take it back.
Along the way, the engines meet Edward, Henry, James, Gordon, Toby and Emily, and together, the engines puff all the way to the Steamworks to face Diesel 10 and the Diesels. Thomas and Percy speak to Diesel 10, and offer to help him and his friends by talking to Sir Topham Hatt about a new Dieselworks. Their chance comes sooner than expected. Sir Topham Hatt’s car rushes into the Steamworks, and he is furious to see what is happening. All of a sudden, Diesel 10 becomes over very coy when scolded. He is not the monster that Thomas makes him out to be!
Percy, Thomas and Kevin each try to explain Diesel 10’s frustration with the state of the Dieselworks, and why he has chosen to take the course of action that he has done. Finally, Thomas finally asks if the Diesels can have a new Dieselworks to set things right. Sir Topham Hatt tells the engines that he had been planning to build one for the Diesels all along – it was taking time, but he assures Diesel 10 that it would be worth waiting for.
Together, the steam engines and Diesels work to rebuild the Dieselworks and make it as good as new. Eventually, the work is done, and all the engines stand proudly at the reopening of the Dieselworks. Sir Topham Hatt gives a speech, saying that the new Dieselworks is all the more special because it’s a shining example of what can happen when “Really Useful Engines work together!”To be continued in Part Three.