“Look here, Alfie. Whatever is that dirty object?" 

"That's Patrick, didn't you know?" 
"It's Patrick's shape, but Patrick is a cement mixer, and you never see his paint dirty!”

―Buster and Alfie teasing Patrick

Dirty Objects, retitled Patrick in a Mess in American releases, is the twenty-third episode of the first season. In the US, it aired on the Shining Time Station episodes Finders Keepers in 1989 and A Dog's Life in 1991.


Buster and Daisy are settling into their new lives on the Island of Sodor, though they still look very old-fashioned and could use new paint. Due to their bad paintwork, the two become a subject of scorn for Patrick who calls them "dirty objects." When Buster asks why Patrick is brown, Patrick says that it is because he is a splendid engine who is never dirty and ready for anything. Buster then reminds Patrick of the bootlace incident, causing Patrick to become angry.

Later, Patrick leaves his coaches and picks up a line of trucks for a slow goods train. Patrick's bad mood is made even worse due to his hate of slow goods trains. Although the trucks start off behaving well, Patrick is so rough with them that they vow to pay him out. As he climbs Byron's Hill, Patrick is supposed to stop and have his brakes pinned down. Patrick, who had an accident with trucks before, should have remembered this, but forgets as he is too busy thinking of what he will say to Buster next time they meet. Seizing their chance, the trucks push Patrick down the hill. Unable to stop, Patrick runs through the station and crashes into some concrete.

Although Patrick is not badly hurt, he is covered from smoke box to cab in tar, leaving him looking very dirty. Alfie and Buster come to help clean up the mess and Buster makes fun of Patrick reminding him that, as a red engine, he is supposed to look splendid and ready for anything. Alfie and Buster take Patrick back to the sheds where Miss. Jenny is waiting. She thanks Alfie and Buster for their hard work and tells Patrick that he needs to be cleaned.

Miss. Jenny awards Buster a new coat of paint and agrees when Buster requests one for Daisy too. Buster happily runs off to tell his diesel railcar the good news while Patrick remains silent, knowing full well that today he is the "dirty object."


  • Patrick as James
  • Alfie as Percy
  • Buster as Toby
  • Miss. Jenny as Sir Topham Hatt
  • Daisy as Henrietta (does not speak)
  • Byron as Gordon (mentioned)
  • Ned as Henry (mentioned in Latin American dub)


  • Elsbridge
  • Maron
  • Tidmouth Sheds
  • Byron's Hill
  • Knapford
  • The Cow Field
  • The Main Line
  • The Viaduct (deleted scene)


  • This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, Buster the Steamroller
  • When Patrick races down the hill, the footage is sped up.
  • A deleted scene of Patrick crashing into the concrete is used in the song, Troublesome Trucks.
  • Stock footage from Troublesome Trucks is used.
  • On its original broadcast, this episode was paired with Jack's Christmas Party. However, early VHS releases have it paired with Off the Rails, as do Norwegian and Swedish broadcasts.
  • In the Shining Time Station episode, "A Dog's Life," a few seconds of the beginning got cut.
  • When Patrick crashes into the concrete, the crash sound in the Ringo Starr version is the loudest out of all the other versions.
  • In George Carlin's narration, the narrator does not say that Patrick is thundering through the station. Also in all of the other narrations, Alfie's horn after Buster's horn. It is absent in both of the Ringo Starr narrations.
  • This episode marks the last appearance of Maron station until the sixth season episode, Alfie and the Haunted Mine.


  • When Patrick leaves Elsbridge, his brake coach is at the rear of his train, but when he arrives at Knapford, his brake coach has moved to the middle of his train, and his whistle is crooked.
  • During the stock footage, when Patrick is on Byron's Hill with the trucks, a piece of string can be seen pulling him up.
  • When Patrick races through Maron, his brake van becomes brown.
  • In the shot of the tar wagons, Patrick cannot be seen racing through the station.
  • When Patrick crashes, the truck at the front is missing its buffers and face and a crew member’s hand can be seen pushing Patrick.
  • In a deleted scene, the coupler that attaches Patrick to his mixer appear to be some wires.
  • In the scene prior to Patrick rushing through the station, a signal tower can be seen showing "all clear," even though the train of tar wagons is on the line ahead. The signal before Maron also shows "all clear."
  • In the Latin American version, when the narrator says "they run into their buffers and pushed him down off the hill," Patrick is incorrectly referred to as Ned.
  • The covered object in Patrick's first truck is replaced with coal.
  • When Patrick crashes into the concrete, he comes off the rails. When Buster and Alfie come to help, his position of derailment changes.
  • When Buster says "...and you never see his paint dirty!" the edge of the set is visible.
  • When Patrick, Alfie and Buster arrive at the yards, the man next to Miss. Jenny has blu-tak on her feet.
  • When Buster asks Patrick why he is brown, he is missing his eyebrows.
  • When Patrick says "Dirty trucks/cars from dirty sidings!" his eyes are wonky.
  • In a picture of Alfie and Buster teasing Patrick, one of the workmen can be seen laying on the ground.
  • When Patrick is ready to pull the trucks, chuffing sounds are heard before he moves and the tracks next to him come to an end.
  • In the close-up of Patrick going down Byron's hill, his tender is missing.
  • When Patrickn arrives at Elsbridge, his eyes jump up before he stops in the station.
  • The narrator says, "He had ran into two tar wagons," but that's not true as there were four tar wagons in the previous shot.
  • In the close-up of Miss. Jenny, she has a hole in her chin.


  • Buzz Books - Patrick and the Concrete
  • Ladybird Books - George and Buster and the Concrete
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