Being limited to small roles and cameos in the latest season, James took on the reigns for the lead in Muddy Matters. James' job was to take sheep to a fair but diverted himself to other tracks for avoiding mud and to keep clean.
The red engine teamed up with Farmer McColl, Thomas, The Fat Controller, Emily and The Photographer to speak in the near ten minute show.
Stanley, Charlie, Edward, Henry, Gordon, Rosie and Belle all appeared at the start in silence. The end of the tale set at the fair featured a whole host of some of Sodor's nation.
The episode's reception led to mixed and negative reviewing as dedicaters became unhappy with Max Allen's formulaic script. This also happend with his previous story just one day back.
The simplistic nature of James choosing a route to trek ahead whilst preventing himself from getting dirty made a poor response due to the general idea being used many times.
The missing sections of mud and puddles in places did not tend to appear in most places and instead were presented during the track intervals. Absence of signalmen and boxes decreased realism on the railway expectations.
While Thomas appeared in a cameo, he later recieved a role half way through which brought up the subject of forced in partings, taking in bad fan comments.
James' one van man load differed very much to the beginning of the story after the many engines passing by carrying extra loads of rolling stock.
Positives mentioned involved a humourous exchange between Emily and James, Belle doing railway work, a worker reading The Sodor Times newspaper and James retaining his character throughout, becoming highly praised.
TheTopHatts gives Muddy Matters...
Season Sixteen of Thomas & Friends will return for one more day in Australia on ABC2 during Christmas 2012 with the episode, The Christmas Express.
Channel 5 in the UK airs the next episode on their milkshake! slot on Monday March 12th 2012 at 7:35am with Whiff's Wish. The Christmas Express will also air in Britain in Christmas 2012.
For a full list of the scheduling, visit the Dieselworks Turntable Roundhouse on the right hand sidebar for more details.
Thanks to Thomas & Friends Wikia for information and images.
What did you think of this episode? Send your reaction in the comments section just under this post for your verdict.