List of Tugs characters
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Tugs is a 1988 British children's television series created by the producers of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, Robert D. Cardona and David Mitton, features two groups of anthropomorphized tugboat fleets: the Star Fleet and the Z-Stacks. They compete against each other in the fictional town of Bigg City Port.
In the North American adaptation, Salty's Lighthouse, the stories were re-purposed for a younger audience. The two groups were no longer rival tug fleets, and the characters underwent various changes. Sunshine, Captain Star, and Little Ditcher were considered female. Sunshine became the sister of fellow switcher Ten Cents. British accents were changed to American accents. Some names were changed, for instance, Big Mac became Big Stack, O.J. became Otis, and Zebedee became Zeebee.
- 1 Star Fleet
- 2 Z-Stacks
- 3 Supporting characters
- 4 Minor characters
- 4.1 Tugboats
- 4.2 Ocean liners
- 4.3 Tramp steamers
- 4.4 Dockside and floating cranes
- 4.5 Barges
- 4.6 Other characters
- 5 References
The Star Fleet is a group who aims to work together on getting and fulfilling port contracts. It is led by Captain Star. Its symbol is a red funnel with blue and white stripes around the top. Fleet members have yellow bodies and also carry a red flag with a white star. Reporting to Captain Star are seven tugs, each of which has a numbered smoke stack. In "Regatta", Grampus the submarine becomes a member of Star Fleet. The Star Fleet tugs are modeled after the San Francisco tugs of the 1920s.
Ten Cents (#1) works as a harbour switcher on a wide variety of tasks around Bigg City Port. Ten Cents is one of the younger, and he is one of the braver Star Tugs. He has a tendency to be somewhat cheeky at times, but is strong-willed, and it takes a lot to break him. He is quick-witted and takes action swiftly without hesitation. He never lets other tugs bully him, never fails to stand up for others, and is always willing to set aside his own safety for the sake of others. He has a bit of a short temper, but he is also smart enough to listen to the advice of the older, more experienced tugs. He speaks with a teenage East End Cockney accent.
Big Mac (#2) is a harbour tug who speaks with a Scottish accent. He can come across as a rude and stubborn tug, but he has a heart of gold, despite his tendencies to be macho, gruff and tough at times. He is very much willing to set aside his own safety for the sake of others, and usually (but not always) remains level-headed when undergoing a strategy. Big Mac works mainly with Warrior, and the two tugs have a very close friendship. Even though Warrior's clumsiness and thick head occasionally frustrates him, he still respects and cares for him. He also stands up for Warrior if anyone makes fun of him.
As opposed to his gruff personality, he is fitted with a rich and melodic chime whistle.
O.J. (#3) is the sole remaining paddle-driven harbour tug in Bigg City Port. He can be described as "slow, but versatile". As Captain Star once said in "Quarantine", "He had given many years of good service, but time was catching up on him". He is indeed capable of a variety of tasks, but is sometimes restricted by his age and mechanical condition. He speaks with a South Welsh accent.
Chris Tulloch noted that the O.J. model used in the series was one of the most reliable. Other models, which had internal machinery, would often threaten to "turn turtle" and would have to be fixed firmly to a chassis.
After the production of TUGS was shut down, his model was passed on to the sister series Thomas and Friends to be converted into "Lakesider lll", seen on the Skarloey Railway on Season 4. His model was later sold to The Star Tugs Trust along with his original head, wheelhouse, smokestack, and glasses (though at the moment, he is painted in the Lakesider lll livery).
Top Hat (#4) is a railway tug with a top hat and monocle. He is very uppity and snobbish and tends to look down on most tugs, especially the Z-Stacks". He also believes he is the best tug in the Star Fleet. Despite his self-absorbed and arrogant demeanor, he means well, works hard and cares for his Star Fleet, although he rarely shows it. He speaks in a posh English accent.
After the filming of TUGS ended, sadly, Top Hat's model was presumed to be lost, he is one of two Star characters who hasn't been sold to The Star Tugs Trust, along with Grampus, if Top Hat's model is found in the future, he may have on his shocked face mask. His other face masks are currently the only parts that are last left of him.
Warrior (#5) has a large face and blue flat cap, and speaks with a burly London accent. He usually works with Big Mac and, sometimes, Top Hat. He is often clumsy and rather dimwitted, but tries not to mess up. He is known only to get in the way by the Z-Stacks. He is extremely hardworking, despite the fact that his inherent clumsiness often leads to problems. He is loyal, strong-willed, and determined, and never gives up. Despite Warrior's shortcomings, he has proved himself to be a valuable member of the Star Fleet with notable examples being when he helped put out the fires, saved Izzy Gomez and stopped the logs that were flowing from up the river. Captain Star has referred to him as a striker. Even though he's not the smartest tug on the fleet, Warrior can occasionally come up with bright (if unusual) ideas in dire situations, such as setting his garbage barge alight to make a beacon for the S.S. Vienna. Whenever he makes a mistake, he's determined to set things right, as seen in "Sunshine", when he is the only tug who openly acknowledges how badly the other Star Tugs treated Sunshine.
Hercules (#6) is an ocean-going tug who is tasked with escorting large vessels to port, or answering distress calls at sea. He is in charge of large operations and important contracts. Hercules is a cool-headed fighter. He speaks with a clear, soft tone and a politically correct English accent, but his words are often hard. Although he can be strict and serious with his comrades, he also displays a gentler side and a sense of humour on occasion. Nothing can break him and not even the antics of the Z-Stacks and Bluenose can set him back. He is held in high regard by most of the tugs in the harbour, and even Zorran knows that he cannot win a confrontation with Hercules. He is not as seen as often as the other Star Tugs, mainly due to him being on his own missions. Hercules is famously known for referring to his colleagues as "m'dears", "old darlings", and "sweetheart".
Sunshine (#7) is a small harbour switcher who performs various tasks. Sunshine can be occasionally cheeky at times, but he is very strong willed nevertheless. He is quick-witted and takes action swiftly without hesitation. He is generally level-headed and cheerful, and takes on most jobs with little complaining. He also appears to have a slight crush on Sally Seaplane. Sunshine speaks with a Geordie accent.
Grampus is a small submarine that formerly worked for the Navy. He appears for the first time in the episode "Pirate", in which he helped to prove Ten Cents' innocence. In the episode "Regatta", he saved Lillie Lightship from sinking by plugging the hole in her side with his front. Later, he was nearly blown up by Bluenose the naval tug having been branded as 'too old' for further service and was out of commission. He was thankfully swiftly rescued by the Ten Cents, Big Mac, O.J., and Top Hat. On the same day, he was bought by Captain Star and joined the Star Fleet as their first Star submarine. He speaks with a Central English accent (with a noticeable lisp). Grampus also has a tendency to spit water in the tug's faces, most prominently at Bluenose in "Regatta" and at Top Hat while he was napping in the episode "Ghosts".
According to model maker Jeremy King, Grampus was modeled after Grampus-class submarines. Spike Knight fashioned Grampus in fiberglass by looking at old Grampus photos. He used a "parallel lifting version of the tugs' pull along trolleys so he could surface."
His model is one of two star characters that has not been sold to The Star Tugs Trust, along with Top Hat, his face masks are currently the only part that is last left of him, if Grampus's model is found in the future, his model may have his thrilled face mask.
Captain Star is the owner of the Star Fleet. He narrates the series in the past tense. He is quite obviously a veteran sailor, and owns and cares for the Star Fleet. He always appears as a loudhailer in the window of the Star Dock building. He takes great pride in his fleet, but he knows that it is important to be hard on them in order to succeed. He is usually very strict if something does not go as shipshape as it is supposed to.
The Z-Stacks are devious, tricky and scheming boats. Their leader is Captain Zero, although the first tug Zorran runs the day-to-day operations. They regularly find ways to hinder and infuriate their rival Star Fleet tugs. Their physical appearance is modeled after the 1920s Moran tugs that were active in New York City.
Zorran is Captain Zero's first tug, and the fleet leader of the Z-Stacks. He is a harbour tug who hatches various devious schemes against the Star Fleet. Zorran is looked up to in fear from most of the other tugs, because they know that he is a tug not to be messed with in the best of times! However, though being able to generally get what he's looking for, Zorran is depicted as a very pragmatic tug, who will be devious only as far as common sense and necessity allows.
The majority of the episodes portray him as a leading antagonist in some way. Although he is undoubtedly the most intelligent Z-Stack, his plans usually end up backfiring: either through the incompetence of the other Z-Stacks or his own overconfidence. Zorran has shown to regularly employ fellow Z-Stacks Zip and Zug to carry out his operations, which more often than not results in adverse consequences.
The other Z-Stacks are secretly afraid of him, but Zorran himself doesn't appear to be afraid of anyone other than Hercules, and has even been known to show insolence towards his boss, Captain Zero ("We're not smiling, Captain Zero!"). Despite his maligned characteristics, there is a very good reason for Zorran's role as the head Z-Stack - he's easily, when not scheming, the most competent and sensible of the fleet, best shown in the episode "Munitions" when he's given responsibility for overseeing a large delivery of explosives. Zorran ensured the other Z-Stacks followed all correct safety precautions and saw that the job was carried out efficiently. Later at the naval pool he sided with O.J. when arguing with officious Navy tug Bluenose over common sense against orders, and when a massive fire broke out he urged rival tug Ten Cents to escape the danger. True to his opportunistic nature however, Zorran then sat back to enjoy the impromptu fireworks display as Navy tramper Kraka-Toa blew herself apart. He has also been shown to scold the other Z-Stacks for messing up, such as in "Bigg Freeze" when he told off Zip and Zug for making the wrong judgement and put the work contract on thin ice for both Star and Zero fleets.
Despite his cunning and sinister behaviour, Zorran, at times, has been known to portray rather cowardly tendencies. This is shown best at times such as when he is in the presence of Hercules or confronted with a situation beyond his control. His reaction to first seeing the White Fleet is a prime example of his cowardliness, as well as being on the receiving end of Burke and Blair's teasing in "Quarantine".
Although he is a steam tug, Zorran's deep, aggressive whistle sounds more like air-horns fitted to modern diesel tugs.
Zebedee is Captain Zero's second tug; he performs a variety of tasks around Bigg City Port. Like the other Z-Stacks, Zebedee is based on the NYC Moran Fleet tugs from the 1920s. His personality resembles Shemp Howard. Zebedee is one of the more complex TUGS characters, an easy-going tug who winds up the Star Fleet for a reason or another mean and vindictive on the outside, but on the inside there is much to his personality. Beneath his tough exterior is the only Z-Stack to have a conscience.
In the episode "High Winds", his guilty conscience proves he has good in him when he helps the Star Fleet tow the liner Princess Alice. He was once offered to join the Star Fleet but refused, saying he's a Z-Stack at his heart. Zebedee's lighter side was never examined again in the series, but it was in another form of media which stated his owner was Captain Star, meaning it would have been expanded on in Season 2.
Zak is the third member of the Z-Stacks and usually works with Zebedee. He's known to have a bad motor, as seen in the episode "High Tide". Like the rest of the Zero Marine, Zak is based off the Moran Fleet tugs from the Roaring 20s. He's quite a thuggish character, often aggressive and threatening. Publicity material for the series indicated that he saw himself as a potential leader of the Z-Stacks. Zak has been seen as a second-in-command to Zorran.
As the fourth tug in the Z-Stacks, Zug is a harbour switcher that tows barges and works on liner docking operations. He mainly works with Zip, and likes to think of himself as the intelligent one. Compared to Zip he certainly is intelligent, but he isn't as smart as the other tugs. He comes up with devious plans for him and Zip to use (although the plans usually fail). Despite being best friends with Zip, Zug basically commands him, who's too frightened to make any good suggestions. Zug's capabilities range from the towing of barges to liner docking operations. Like the rest of the Zero Marine, Zug is based on the Moran Fleet tugs of the 1920s. He's sneaky, cowardly and he needs the other Z-Stacks around for courage. Zug is a scheming sort of tug, though his plans rarely if ever work as planned. Zug is intimidated by the main Z-Stack Zorran and has a tendency to be somewhat nervous and jittery around him.
Zip is the second harbour switcher in the Z-Stacks fleet. He works alongside Zug on minor contracts such as the freighting of quarried boulders. Zip is often described as 'Zug, only worse'. His head is often in the clouds, and he is well known for being a coward. He is easily scared and sometimes speaks out of turn, as well as being quick to back down when engaging in an argument, and is easily dominated. Zip could be described as being 'slow in the head', for it will often take him a while to catch onto things, even basic terms and phrases such as devious. He is mostly left out of plans, but may come up with his own, most likely wrecking the original!
Captain Zero is the owner of the Z-Stacks. Unlike Captain Star, he is the devious and scheming. He is known to have criminal connections and was originally affiliated with Johnny Cuba before something happened between the two. He is also known to be quite bad tempered.
Izzy Gomez is a large tramp steamer who regularly visits Bigg City Port with items such as bananas from Puerto Grande. He has said numerous times that he would rather try to get into port on his own instead of being pulled by any of the tugs and actually tries in the episode "Warrior".
He was one of the models later used for Thomas and Friends after the production of TUGS shut down, his model was used as a tramp steamer seen at Brendam Docks from seasons 3-5, it is unknown where his model is currently, his face masks are currently the only parts that are last left of him.
Izzy spoke with a Mexican accent, and was voiced by Sean Barrett. In the Japanese dub, he was voiced by Rokurō Naya. In Salty's Lighthouse, he had an American accent (despite still having a sombrero and the Mexican flag painted on his smokestack) and was voiced by Paul Dobson.
Lillie Lightship is a lightship that is situated at Demder Rocks to warn shipping of potential hazards. She has a contract with the Star Fleet where they provide her with the necessary fuel and supplies to keep her light shining.
The following is a list of fictional characters in the children's television series Tugs. All of these characters played supporting roles to the series' main characters' in the fictional harbour of Bigg City Port.
Sea Rogue is also known as "The Pirate" - his only appearance is in the episode of the same name. In darker times, he stole barges for two mysterious green-eyed tugs, who had captured his uncle, and threatened to scuttle him unless Sea Rogue stole more barges for them; similar then, to Zebedee's relationship with the tramper Johnny Cuba in the episode "High Winds". The Green-Eyed Pirates were later caught out by Ten Cents, Sunshine, Grampus, and Sea Rogue himself, who devised a plan to capture the two fiends. Sea Rogue had been previously mistaken for the pirate himself, hence his nickname, and he later forgave the Star Tugs for ever thinking that about him. He then returned to a peaceful life with his uncle. He was voiced by Nigel Anthony. In the Japanese dub, he was voiced by Keiji Fujiwara.
Sea Rogue's appearance was intimidating, especially his eye patch (a typical pirate trademark). He was a completely black tug in colour, and didn't seem to work for any particular fleet; although the "Mi" symbol on his stack suggests that he worked for the munitions company, as the same symbol is seen on the factory and warehouse doors.
His model was later repainted and modified to be used for Bluenose.
Bluenose is an obnoxious navy tug, whom both the Star Fleet and Z-Stacks despise. He plays precisely by the rules and acts as a kind of stereotypical army drill sergeant towards the other tugs. He is annoying, pompous, and self-centered, and despite appearing in only two episodes of the series ("Regatta" and "Munitions") he caused a major impact and is often referred to as a major character. He speaks with a regimented Army English accent.
His major story line was involved with blowing up the midget submarine, Grampus, who was saved at the last minute and later became a member of the Star Fleet. After the episode "Munitions", Bluenose was left a nervous wreck, after a terrible night at the docks involving the death of the naval tramp steamer Kraka-Toa. He is later towed away by Grampus. He was not seen again after this. It is presumed he has been fired from, arrested or punished in some way by the Navy for not only for the attempted murder of Grampus, annoying and bullying the other tugs, but also for starting the fire in the first place.
The term 'bluenose' was a nickname for people who came from the Canadian province of Nova Scotia - in the context of the show it may also have been a pun on the term 'Brown-nose', or suck-up - given Bluenose's orders-following mentality it can be said that he is a 'naval brown-nose', hence, possibly, 'Bluenose'.
The Fire Chief, also referred to as the Fire Launch, was in his own right, quite a significant character. Although he did not have his own individual name, and only appeared briefly in four episodes (in one of which he had no dialogue), he had a major role in the health, safety and well-being of Bigg City Port and its inhabitants. He is seen as an authoritarian figure and was often around when chaos was stirring in the Port.
The Fire Tug is level headed and down-to-earth, he is usually bright eyed, although his stubble makes him appear quite rough, however he is alert and keen to get to work. He speaks with a Cockney accent. He is painted white and red.
Like Billy Shoepack, the Fire Tug could move his head and eyes rather than immobile features.
Boomer was found floating adrift in the episode "Jinxed" by Ten Cents and Sunshine, where he revealed he was a jinx (which Ten Cents was very sceptical about). After many incidents, including almost sinking and his engine failing then catching fire, Ten Cents finally believed that he had a bad luck streak. After he was repaired at Lucky's Yard, Captain Star decided that Boomer was to become a house boat, and he now resides at an upriver jetty called "Dun Tuggin" where he can relax all day, and the jinx has finally left him.
Boomer was originally called Captain Harry, and he says that he became jinxed when his name was changed to Boomer. Boomer is the only tug, except from the initial seven, to become a Star Tug during the series, even if it was only for a very short period. He was also briefly a Z-Stack when he helped Zip and Zug pull some munitions, but after the barge exploded Captain Zero got rid of him. Boomer can also be seen towing barges in the background of the episode "Up River", and with this exception, he was never featured in the series again.
Boomer also appeared in Salty's Lighthouse, experiencing two very different adventures. In one episode he failed towing the schooner (as in the original TUGS) and became a 'vacation boat' in a story Ten Cents told to Zug, and in the other one he lost his 'bad luck' by successfully towing the schooner. During these episodes, he was voiced by Scott McNeil.
Boomer's history reflects the naval superstition that changing the name of a ship invokes bad-luck. His name in naval and military slang is the nickname for submarines armed with ballistic missiles/nuclear ICBMs - though it is highly improbable that Boomer has any connection to nuclear weapons (having predated their invention by two decades) it can safely be said that he had a similarly intense impact on the tugs of Bigg City Port.
Billy Shoepack is an alligator tug; just like an alligator, he sits incredibly low in the water. In Billy's case, he's also just as dangerous as an alligator; he carries supplies such as fuses and dynamite to the Upriver towns. Billy has a particular fixation with his dynamite, and loves using it to create 'lovely big bangs' and 'blast someone out of trouble,' as he manages to do in the episodes "Trapped" and "Up River". Billy has been ridiculed by the other tugs for his unusual appearance and seeming lack of common sense, but his great courage and spirit has helped them get out of trouble, and changed their minds for the better.
Billy spoke with a strong West Country accent, and was voiced by Lee Cornes. In the Japanese dub, he was voiced by Mitsuaki Madono in "Trapped" and Rokurō Naya in "Up River". In Salty's Lighthouse, he was voiced by Paul Dobson.
Sea Rogue's Uncle
Sea Rogue's Uncle was never named, although he was referred to as "Old Man" by his nephew Sea Rogue. He was an elderly tug with a brownish colour scheme, appearing only in "Pirate". He was kidnapped by the "Green-Eyed" tugs, who held him as ransom in order to make his nephew steal barges, and was later rescued by Grampus.
Burke and Blair
Burke and Blair were notorious scrap dealers, and scavengers. Burke was the one with a moustache, and Blair was the one who wore glasses. They were always seen together, and had small appearances in many episodes across the series. The only episode in which they speak is "Quarantine", when they try- and almost succeed in- convincing Captain Star to sell O.J. for scrap.
Burke and Blair were often seen in the background, most notably at the end of the episode "Ghosts". Their names come from the Edinburgh corpse sellers: Burke and Hare and they are sort of tugboat alternatives to their human counterparts, in that they deal in dead boats - not people. Nigel Anthony voiced Burke and Sean Barrett voiced Blair. In the Japanese dub, Hideyuki Umezu voiced Burke and Mitsuaki Madono voiced Blair.
A pair of villainous tugboats who slipped into Bigg City Port with the intention of stealing loaded barges that could be sold off illegally for trade. To increase their security, they used Sea Rogue as their decoy. To make sure that he performed their bidding, they took Sea Rogue's uncle hostage and threatened to sink him if he disobeyed them. With the unexpected help of Zip and Zug, the Star Fleet and Sea Rogue were able to capture the pirate tugs and hand them into the authorities.
The pirate tugs were mysterious-looking vessels with black paint and a distinguishable pair of green-tinted spotlights. They are known among fans as 'The Green-Eyed Things'. The pirate tugs are among the few speaking tugboats among the cast that do not have faces.
The White Fleet
A fleet of tugboats who came to Bigg City Port during the midst of winter. They came from 'northern waters' in search of an iceberg, and travelled about the harbour at night with engines 'off', listening for cracking ice. They were mistaken by the Star Fleet, Zorran, and Izzy Gomez for being the phantoms of a tug fleet that sank in the great storm of 1912. After an eventful night, Hercules revealed the truth behind the White Fleet. Since then, the Star Tugs found they could laugh it off, but never forgot the night when fog nearly drove them crazy. The white fleet may have been used as the pirates.
The Coast Guard
The Coast Guard is a small vessel who acts as customs officer for the port. He often stands at the entrance to the estuary; ready to question and check incoming shipping before clearance. On other occasions, he stands by and over-looks large-scale operations, such as demolition and quarry work. He also doubled as a 'one-man' police-force. Despite his size, he has heavy influence and authority over the vessels of the port. He has made numerous brief appearances, but also made speaking roles in "High Winds", "Warrior" and "Quarantine". Because of his small size, remote eye mechanisms could not be fitted into his model.
He was one of the models passed on to Thomas and Friends after the production of TUGS shut down, he was seen in season 4, however, it is unknown where his model is at the moment. In the Buzz Books, the Coast Guard was referred to as the Customs Launch.
He spoke in a posh English accent, and was voiced by Lee Cornes. In the Japanese dub, he was voiced by Sukekiyo Kameyama. In Salty's Lighthouse, the Coast Guard was called Cappy and was voiced by Paul Dobson.
Coast Guard's Messenger
A small motor boat with a shrill whistle, he appeared only briefly in "Regatta" to inform the Star Fleet of Lille Lightship's predicament; having been sent by the Coast Guard to deliver the message. The same small vessel doubled as the 'mad' speed boat that caused the accident in "Quarantine". He was in this form before "Regatta", as he appears in the liner scene of Warrior in "Sunshine". He is located beside the Fire Launch.
He was voiced by Nigel Anthony. In the Japanese dub, he was voiced by Mitsuaki Madono. In Salty's Lighthouse, he was mistakenly thought to be the same character as the Coast Guard and also became Cappy. Just like the other Cappy, he was voiced by Paul Dobson.
The Duchess appears in "Sunshine", the very first episode, making her the first ocean liner we encounter in the series. She only appeared in two scenes in the whole of that episode: first when the Star's were towing her in, and again in the nighttime firework celebrations following a successful journey. In appearance, she looked a lot like Princess Alice - and it is possible she was the same model - only with modified funnels and ventilators.
Her profile card in the TUGS board game gave her nationality as British.
Princess Alice was the most prominent of the three Liners - she appeared in three episodes ("High Winds", "High Tide", and "Regatta"), in "High Winds", she was in need of repair and the Stars (and Zebedee) all fought against the heavy winds to bring her safely into port. When she appeared in the 12th episode "Regatta", she was fully repaired - and was celebrating Independence Day heartily with the other vessels whilst being loaded by Big Mickey. In "High Tide", she only made a brief cameo.
Her profile card in the TUGS board game gives her nationality as American.
S.S. Vienna appeared in the episode Bigg Freeze, in which the Star Tugs and Z-Stacks alike were eagerly awaiting her return. In some videos she appears in the opening credits, and her model also made a brief appearance in "Sunshine".
The model used for S.S. Vienna was later reused for Thomas and Friends, which can be seen at Brendam Docks. It is renamed "S.S. Roxstar" in a Season 10 episode - "Seeing the Sights". However she shows off the Inman Line livery.
Vienna was given her name solely to create an excuse for the characters to say "Goodnight, Vienna" at the end of "Bigg Freeze" - in a further in-joke, Goodnight Vienna was the fourth solo album of Thomas storyteller Ringo Starr.
Johnny Cuba is a notorious and violent tramp steamer gangster. His strong accent and dialect indicate that he is from Australia, although in a TUGS themed card game it is said that he is from Cuba. His main first appearance in "High Winds". He was voiced by Nigel Anthony. In the Japanese dub, he was voiced by Tarô Arakawa.
Cuba had arrived at Bigg City Port to make plans with fellow criminal friends during a period of strong and troublesome tempest weather. When he arrived, he met Zebedee and threatened him by manipulating him into helping him into the port.
Cuba sent Zebedee on an errand to steal a barge of coal, and threatened to sink him if he landed either of them in trouble. Due to a feud between Cuba and Captain Zero that occurred in the past, Zebedee was placed in an awkward and dangerous situation, until Hercules discovered Cuba's hide-out in an abandoned dock. Zebedee plucked up the courage to trap Cuba and have him arrested, and was forgiven. Despite Cuba's claim that "they can't hold Johnny Cuba!", they did. Johnny Cuba only appeared in "High Winds", but his model made five more brief appearances in "Sunshine", "Quarantine", "Ghosts", "Munitions" and "Regatta". In "Regatta" it sank in Dender Rocks after colliding with Lillie Lightship.
Johnny Cuba made a second appearance in the annual story, "The Lost Barge", where he is still doing crime but no one wants to go near him.
A dirty old tramper and a notorious villain, whom the Tugs call Dirt Bucket. His only appearance was in "Quarantine", in which he attempted to trick Sunshine into taking him into port by pulling down the yellow "waiting for clearance" flag. After his plan was foiled, he was sentenced by the Coast Guard to a further forty days in quarantine along with Zorran (who had fallen for the trick and pulled alongside him). He spoke with a Lancastrian accent provided by Sean Barrett. In the Japanese dub, he was voiced by Kōji Ishii.
In Salty's Lighthouse, Nantucket's name was changed to Tramper. Not only did he also become a friendly character, but sometimes he couldn't even speak (in which a foghorn sound effect was used instead). In the appearances where he did speak, he was voiced by Paul Dobson.
This naval tramp steamer made her first appearance in "Ghosts" and her final appearance in "Munitions". Due to a fuel drum falling onto some explosives after Bluenose hit Zorran's barge, the dock caught fire; thus setting off the explosives and fuel loaded in her at the time. Since she was nearly full, the contents did indeed "rip her apart" as Zorran predicted, and she sank into the bay. She never spoke.
Old Rusty is possibly a naval tramp steamer, who made only one brief appearance, at the end of the episode "Warrior"; anchored out in the estuary. Warrior dozed off and bumped into him, telling him to look where he was going, but Old Rusty said that he had been anchored there for two years. He obviously had a sense of humor, as he dissolved into laughter after Warrior had left, and exclaimed that "It wouldn't half be boring without him."
Dockside and floating cranes
Big Mickey is described as 'the Port's biggest crane'. He was once stationed at the steel works quay for loading and unloading operations when the Star and Zero fleets were competing for the steel company contract. He was later transferred to the naval dock for the loading of the naval tramper Kraka-Toa. He has two note-worthy appearances in "High Tide" and "Munitions".
There is some debate as to the fate of Big Mickey. In the television release of "Munitions", it is stated that Big Mickey had fallen into shallow water and survived. However this narration was deleted in the video release. According to the tugboats' reactions he perished to save them, although this may simply mean he took a big fall for them.
The model used for the Big Mickey character was recycled to be used in Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends as a character on the show retaining the same name. He is one of the only two TUGS characters (the other being the S.S. Vienna) to survive the transition to CGI. In season 21, he was given a face and the ability to speak.
He was voiced by Timothy Bateson. In the Japanese dub, he was voiced by Masaaki Tsukada in "High Tide" and Tarô Arakawa in "Munitions". In Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, he is voiced by Rob Rackstraw in the UK and US narration and by Hinata Tadokoro in the Japanese dub.
Mighty Mo is Bigg City Port's largest floating crane, well known for his booming voice. He is used for many salvage operations, in which he usually takes charge. He appeared for the first time in "Jinxed", in which his hawser jammed whilst lifting Boomer out of the water. He also appeared in the episodes "High Tide" and "Regatta".
Little Ditcher is a small dirty A-frame crane, and is therefore, one of the smaller floating cranes to be found in the port. He is sometimes used dredging up-river at Mittsville or for oyster fishing in the estuary, as well as various other jobs. His size makes him unsuitable for rescue operations. He is good friends with the Star Tugs, and appeared for the first time in "Trapped".
Little Ditcher was voiced by Timothy Bateson. In the Japanese dub, he was voiced by Keiji Fujiwara in all of his appearances; excluding "Trapped" where he was voiced by Kōji Ishii. In Salty's Lighthouse, he became a female (along with Captain Star and Sunshine) and was voiced by Lenore Zann.
Although he can be grumpy, he is a friend to the Star Tugs. However, dredger detail is an unpopular task with the tugs, and is often given out by the Captains as punishment. He speaks with an exaggerated Dublin accent.
He was voiced by Nigel Anthony in all of his appearances, excluding "Pirate" where he was voiced by Sean Barrett. In the Japanese dub, he was voiced by Hideyuki Umezu. In Salty's Lighthouse, he was voiced by French Tickner.
Jack the Grappler
Jack the Grappler is a garbage scooper who works at the "Municipal Garbage Corporation" quay for garbage barges, particularly Lord Stinker. He assisted in the organisation of the Municipal Garbage Corporation float for the annual regatta. He first appears in "Regatta" (in which he briefly wore an Uncle Sam-style top hat). In the episode "Bigg Freeze", he had a cold (as he was shown with a red nose). In the series, the narrator refers to him as "Jack the Grapper", possibly indicating a pun on Jack the Ripper (if only in name). He is the only crane with a face.
Lord Stinker is an aged garbage barge, widely known for carrying a heavy stench, and notably wears a peg on his nose to avoid his own strong odor.
He was voiced by Timothy Bateson. In the Japanese dub, he was voiced by Tarô Arakawa in all of his appearances; excluding "Warrior" where he was voiced by Sukekiyo Kameyama. In Salty's Lighthouse, he was voiced by Ian James Corlett.
Frank and Eddie
Frank and Eddie are a pair of twin railway barges (also known as Car floats) who work mostly with Top Hat the railway tug. They are used for the transportation of railway stock across the port. They are very quick-witted and are among the few that can deal with Top Hat's superiority. Both of the twins speak with Cockney accents.
Nigel Anthony voiced Frank and Timothy Bateson voiced Eddie. In the Japanese dub, Frank was voiced by Keiji Fujiwara while Eddie was voiced by Tarô Arakawa in "Munitions" and Sukekiyo Kameyama in "High Tide". In Salty's Lighthouse, they were both voiced by Ian James Corlett.
In the Japanese dub, she was voiced by Sakurako Kishiro.
The Fultan Ferry
The Fultan Ferry is a paddle-driven ferry boat used for freighting vehicles and goods across the harbour. It appeared in various episodes, but was finally named in "Quarantine", when it was temporarily sunk in the middle of the port after hitting a fire barge towed by O.J.. It was later salvaged by Mighty Moe.
Although the Ferry never spoke in the original show, it was voiced by Scott McNeil in Salty's Lighthouse (despite not having a visible face or megaphone). It also happened to be confirmed as a male, and even went under the name Fultan by Grampus.
Since Tugs ceased production, the Fultan Ferry has appeared briefly in Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends.
The Shrimpers appear in various episodes. They had a note-worthy role in "Ghosts", when a group of four or five were accidentally led into a mud-bank whilst following Warrior back to port; using him as a guide through the fog.
Their models were passed on to Thomas and Friends after the production of TUGS shut down, they were seen in Season 4 around the Skarloey Railway and the docks, it is currently unknown where their models are at the moment.
Municipal Garbage Corporation
The owner of the Municipal Garbage Corporation yard organizes the 'Municipal Garbage Corporation' float for the annual regatta. He only appeared in a famous scene from "Regatta". Although he was never referred to by name, his office door revealed it to be O. Krappenschmitt.
The Fuel Depot
Sally is a seaplane who is a friend of the Star Fleet, who have the contract to provide her fuel. Sunshine appears to have a slight crush on her. She appears only briefly in a selected number of episodes, and spoke only in Sunshine.
Sally's technical definition is a 'Flying Boat' because her main source of buoyancy, like a ship, comes from her hull/fuselage with small floats on each wing to stabilise her, unlike the other form of seaplane - the 'floatplane' which uses a normal aircraft fuselage with large floats slung underneath to support it on water. If we expand on this she can be termed an 'Amphibious Flying Boat' because she has fold-up landing gear on her fuslage, allowing her to land on runways as well as water.
Sally's tail-number is S-ALLY, a fictional sequence that would not be assigned to a real plane - any civil aircraft registered in the United States has a tail-number beginning with the letter 'N'.
As the original prop has been presumed lost, The Star Tugs Trust are receiving a rebuilt Sally model from the owner of the original Seaplane moulds, arriving in Easter 2017.
Puffa is a steam locomotive who works on the dockside railway at Bigg City Port. Used for a variety of tasks within the port and at the docks up river, he is a trusted friend of the Star Fleet and Warrior in particular. He has made two appearances in "Up River" and "Munitions", and also made a brief appearance in "High Tide". Other trains seen around Bigg City have the same whistle-sound and feature similar styling as Puffa. In "Munitions", he was warned by Ten Cents, O.J., Zorran, Zak, and Zebedee to escape from a dockside fire. In the episode "Up River", he raced down river from the logging camps inland to warn Top Hat, Warrior, and O.J. that a broken log jam was headed toward them (propelled by an explosion of dynamite, kudos to Billy Shoepack).
He was voiced by John Baddeley. In the Japanese dub, he was voiced by Hideyuki Umezu. In Salty's Lighthouse, Puffa was simply just referred to as "The Train" for most of the time. In one episode, however, he was briefly referred to as Chooch. Here, he was voiced by Paul Dobson.
He, like cranes, speaks through loudhailers. His other features however suggest he was modified from a model locomotive of German outline, which seems likely as the German model makers Marklin supplied components for the model locomotives in TUGS' sister show, Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends.
The Goods Engine
The Goods Engine was a tank engine that made several brief appearances, most notably in "High Tide". Like Puffa, its parts were later recycled to serve as props for rusty, old steam engines seen at scrap yards in Thomas and Friends.
There are several bell buoys across Bigg City Port, most of them yellow. Notably, one appeared very briefly in "Pirate", having been 'silenced' by the pirates in order to make their escape, and getting bumped into by Warrior when he was working with Top Hat to catch the thief. The buoy was voiced by Shaun Prendergast. In the Japanese dub, he was voiced by Yūko Mita.
In the episode "Jinxed", a "Wreck" Buoy appeared very briefly, as well as when Ten Cents hoots his whistle to test the Jinx, a nearby marker buoy ("Dem-Der") sinks. This was the only appearance of these two buoys.
- Mitton, David (director) (1988). "Sunshine"/"Pirate" (Videotape). Surrey, England: Tugs Ltd. UPC 5016500102026. Retrieved 2010-06-16.
- "Bigg City Port – Behind the Scenes". biggcity.tripod.com. Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved March 18, 2013. – contains question/answer information from Chris Tulloch concerning the production of TUGS.
- Gratton, James (March–May 2011). "Crewmember Spotlight on Jeremy King". sodor-island.net. Retrieved March 17, 2013.
- "Crewmember Spotlight on: Jeremy King - Modelmaker Series 2-3, 6 & TUGS". sodor-island.net. Retrieved 2011-05-27.