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"If only I could get rid of that switcher, Sunshine!"

Sunshine is the first episode of TUGS.


The story starts with Captain Star giving an introduction to the Bigg City Port, and the Star Fleet. During the briefing, he informs his tugs that a small harbour switcher called Sunshine from upriver is coming to help the fleet. He also announces that they are to tow in the Duchess, a grand ocean liner into Bigg City Port. After a brief introduction to the Z-Stacks by Captain Star, Captain Zero tells his Z-Stacks that they must form a plan to snag the contract for themselves. Hercules, the largest and strongest star tug, is suddenly called away for a job up the coast which will make him miss the Duchess. Zorran and Zak meet up with Izzy Gomez, the tramp steamer who brings bananas in, who needs a tow. Izzy tells them the Duchess has already arrived, despite her not being due until the afternoon. Zorran decides use this to the Z-Stacks' advantage. With Hercules called away for a job up the coast, the strongest Star left is Big Mac, so Zorran orders Zip and Zug to put Big Mac out of action by pushing him onto a mud bank.

Meanwhile, Ten Cents and Sunshine have met and are excited to have finished their jobs so that they can watch the ocean liner docking. With Big Mac nowhere to be found, O.J. orders the two switchers to search for Big Mac. They come across him stranded on a mud bank and find themselves having to take his place for docking the liner. While the Stars tow in the Duchess, the Z-Stacks watch carefully. Zorran sees his chance and bumps Sunshine hard, sending him flying into the Duchess' rudder, not realizing Izzy was watching. The Star Fleet doesn't see this, and only with the help of Zorran are they able to get the liner back into control. Sunshine feels bad, prompting him to run away from the port.

Pleased with their plan, the Z-Stacks believe they will get the contract. As a result, the Star Fleet turned against Sunshine and blamed him for the incident. But Ten Cents sticks up for him and decides to look for him. On his search, he meets Izzy Gomez, who is still stuck waiting for a tow. Having been the only one who witnessed what happened, Izzy tells Ten Cents that it was Zorran who pushed Sunshine into the Duchess' rudder.

Ten Cents then returns to the Star dock, and after he informs the rest of the Star Fleet about what happened, they all regret how they felt. Ten Cents, Top Hat, Warrior, and Big Mac go out to look for Sunshine, and they soon find him upon a mud bank and in danger of sinking. As an apology to Sunshine, Top Hat informs him that they had learned it was never his fault and persuades him to come back home with them. Ten Cents tells Sunshine Izzy saw the whole incident, who Warrior forgot about and rushes to give him his tow.

As Warrior tows Izzy in, Captain Zero yells at Zorran, Zak, and Zip now that the truth is out and their contract with the Duchess has been canned. Captain Star tells the Star Fleet that they have learned a valuable lesson about trust and that they should not jump to conclusions before knowing the truth. He also announces that Sunshine shall be joining the fleet.

Deleted Material

Cut Content and Changes

Main Articles: Deleted Scenes and Original Episode 1

Early on during the planning stages, it was plan for every episode, including this one, to be 30 minutes long. However, this idea would overall be dropped before pre-production had finished. When it came to filming the series, despite already being painted in his Upriver livery, the crew decided to film the episode "Jinxed" first and repainted Sunshine into his Star livery. "Sunshine" would be pushed back to the second filmed. It is currently unknown why this was done.

During the main shoot of the episode, the crew shot an alternate version of the script, containing alternate dialogue, differently arranged, extended, or scenes that would be cut or repurposed in the 20-minute cut. Some scenes for the episode would be even shot later on, these scenes most noticeable due to Sunshine's cab being yellow, and his deck red, as opposed to being white and black respectively, along with other minor details. By October 1988, the editing process for the finalized 20-minute cut was completed.

Scenes that were cut out when the episode was trimmed to a 15 minute runtime included Captain Star introducing Lucky's Yard to the audience, Ten Cents and Sunshine delivering fuel to Sally Seaplane (who Sunshine becomes smitten with) and Ten Cents coming across Hercules and Lillie Lightship during his search for Sunshine. It was also implied that Top Hat and Warrior had a disdain for Ten Cents with the scene when Captain Star tells the big tugs how they'll tow the Duchess to the terminus, Top Hat and Warrior are quick to rub in at how Ten Cents isn't included.

This episode saw an early release in November 1988 due to Clearwater Features having to turn a profit from the series' budget; when the planned runtime was still 20 minutes. The 15 minute cut of this episode is merely available on the Finland release of Sunshine/Pirate. The English dub has only survived time through recordings of the original airings.




Unreleased US Dub

See: Unreleased 'Sunshine' US Dub

In 1990, Clearwater Features produced a specially-made 'test dub' (using the 20 minute version of this episode) to pitch the idea of an American Dub of TUGS to various US television networks. Unfortunately, the project fell through due to Clearwater Features' liquidation later that same year.


  • This is 1 of 4 episodes that were released in the 20 minute format. The other 3 episodes are Pirate, Regatta and Munitions.
  • The shot of Warrior when he says "I hope Big Mac gets here soon, Top Hat" is used for the title card in the draft opening credits of 20 minute cuts of this and the aforementioned episodes.
  • Going by production order, this would be the 2nd episode.
  • This episode marks the only appearance of the Duchess.
  • Zebedee is the only Z-Stack that does not speak in this episode.
  • This is the only episode where Captain Zero plays a major role.
  • According to a description for this episode on the Sunshine/Pirate VHS, Captain Star ordered Sunshine's dismissal after the incident with the Duchess.
  • A poster bearing the logo of the Western Pacific Railroad is seen on one of the warehouses.
  • Big Mac and Sunshine seem to have hit the same mudbank.
  • It is clear that water colouring dye has been added to the sets as it stains upon the mud bank.
  • This episode and "Pirate" are the only 2 episodes to have received Japanese dubs (or any non-English dub) of their 20 minute cuts.
  • This is the 1st episode to be titled after a character; the 2nd and last one is Warrior.
  • This is the 1st and only episode where Sally Seaplane speaks, though only in the VHS version.
  • The RMS Olympic's whistle can be heard at one point.
  • There are some deleted/extended scenes of this episode seen in both the TV and VHS opening credits. These include:
    • A scene of Ten Cents, Warrior, Sunshine, Zip and Izzy Gomez in Bigg City Port. (Seen at the start of the VHS opening credits.) An extended part of this scene is seen at the beginning of High Tide.
    • An extended scene of O.J. going past the S.S. Vienna.
    • Sunshine shaking his head.
    • A scene of Sally Seaplane flying over Grampus.
  • When Captain Star introduces Ten Cents, a deleted scene from High Tide is used. The shot right before that differs between the 2 versions. The VHS version uses another deleted shot from High Tide. The TV version uses an extended shot from Regatta.
  • The scene of Captain Star telling his tugs what positions they will be in when bringing in the Duchess is not included in the TV version.
  • The scene between Hercules talking to Ten Cents and Sunshine bumping into Ten Cents is different in both the TV version and the VHS version.
    • In the VHS version, O.J. tells Ten Cents that Sunshine is looking for him. In the TV version, Sunshine arrives at the port after Hercules leaves and Captain Star says "Bigg City Port was a thriving busy place, and for someone from upriver who didn't know his way around, it could be very confusing."
  • When Zorran and Zak leave to tell Captain Zero about the Duchess in the TV version, Captain Star says "There'd been a change, but the Stars didn't know this. Here was a chance for Captain Zero to put one over on us." This dialogue is absent in the VHS version.
  • The TV version excludes Zorran speaking to Captain Zero about his plans.
  • After the above-mentioned scene, there is another scene cut from the TV version. In it, Captain Star introduces Lucky's Yard and Sally Seaplane, and Ten Cents and Sunshine deliver fuel to the seaplane hanger. Then, Ten Cents notices the Z-Stacks and wonders what they are up to.
  • In the VHS version, between the scene of Zorran telling Zip and Zug the plan to run Big Mac aground (which is also shortened in the TV version) and the scene of Zip and Zug approaching Big Mac, there is a scene of Izzy telling Warrior about the Duchess being early and Warrior promising to tow Izzy later as a result. This scene is not included in the TV version. As a result, the TV version omits any mention Izzy makes of Warrior, as well as Warrior suddenly remembering he was supposed to give Izzy a tow and rushing off to find him.
  • The music in the scene where Warrior and Top Hat leave to bring the Duchess in is different in the TV version as it is heard after they leave. However, in the VHS version, the music is played whilst they are leaving.
  • The scene of Sunshine going into the Duchess' rudder is different both the TV and VHS versions.
    • In the TV version, Captain Star says "Without Big Mac, the Stars were straining to dock the Duchess. Zorran watched closely. Sunshine and Ten Cents were excited and proud. Switchers never worked on liners. O.J. ordered Sunshine to ease back." In the VHS version, Captain Star says "As the tricky part of the docking operation started, Zorran watched closely. Sunshine and Ten Cents were working hard at their new job when O.J. ordered Sunshine to ease back."
    • Additionally, in the VHS version, the scene starts with Captain Star saying "The Star Fleet were doing their best without Big Mac. And for a while, it looked as though they were going to make it. But Zorran was still waiting for another chance." The TV version omits both this and the subsequent conversation between Zorran and Zip.
  • After the other Z-Stacks congratulate Zorran in the TV version, there is a scene of Sunshine asking, "What happened?", which is omitted in the VHS version. Also, Zorran's line, "Glad to be of service!" comes later in the VHS version.
  • When Sunshine slips away, the TV version has Captain Star saying: "Ashamed and confused, Sunshine couldn't explain what had happened. So he slipped away whilst the Star Tugs were busy with the Duchess." However, the VHS version has Captain Star saying "Ashamed and confused, Sunshine couldn't explain what had happened. So he slipped away while the Star Tugs were still busy." Also, Captain Star's line "He didn't know the sleepy tramper Izzy had been watching the whole incident" is absent in the TV version.
  • The scene where Captain Zero congratulates the Z-Stacks has some differences between the two versions:
    • In the VHS version, Captain Zero says "Good, that's very good. I'll offer our services to the Duchess lines tomorrow." In the TV version, he says "Good, that's very good! I'll offer our services to the Duchess tomorrow!"
    • The scene of Zak saying: "Poor little Sunshine. Just wasn't his day, was it?" is not included in the TV version.
    • In the TV version, the scene comes before the scene of Sunshine on his own.
  • The scene of the celebrations with the Duchess is different in both the TV and VHS versions.
    • The TV version has Captain Star saying: "The Duchess threw a big party, celebrating her arrival in port. Everybody was enjoying themselves. But all Sunshine wanted to do was to get away from Bigg City, back to his simple life up-river." This dialogue is omitted in the VHS version.
  • The scene with Sunshine leaving the port at night is different in both the TV and the VHS versions.
    • In the TV version, Sunshine leaves after Ten Cents sets off from the Star Dock to search for him. In the VHS version, Sunshine leaves before Ten Cents sets off to search for him.
  • The VHS version includes Ten Cents and Warrior saying hello to each other at the Star Dock after the celebrations with the Duchess. However, in the TV version, the celebrations music is still heard in the background and Captain Star says "Ten Cents was getting to like Sunshine and was worried for him."
  • When Ten Cents leaves the Star Dock to look for Sunshine in the TV version, Captain Star says "Sunshine may have ruined his big chance, but Ten Cents wasn't going to leave him on his own."
  • When Ten Cents goes to find Sunshine, Captain Star says "Ten Cents had no idea where to start looking. Sunshine didn't know the port. Maybe he just got lost" in the TV version.
  • Ten Cents' line, "I can't see much" is absent in the TV version.
  • In the VHS version, when Ten Cents goes to tell the other Star Tugs about Zorran pushing Sunshine, Izzy says "Eh, what about my tow?" with no reply from Ten Cents. In the TV version, Izzy says "Eh, what about a tow?" and Ten Cents replies "I'll make sure you get one. Thanks, Izzy."
  • In the VHS version, when Ten Cents and the other Star Tugs go to find Sunshine, Ten Cents says "That's it. Yeah, of course, that's it, up river! Yeah, come on!", and O.J. says "Now the rest of you follow Ten Cents. I'll stay here and tell Captain Star." In the TV version, Ten Cents says, "Of course, that's it! Oh, wait, I promised Izzy a tow!", O.J. says "I'll handle that!", Ten Cents says "Right!" and O.J. says "Now the rest of you follow Ten Cents up river!"
  • The ending music is low pitched at the end of the VHS version of the episode. This also happens at the end of the episodes, Regatta, Ghosts and High Winds. However, the ending is different in the TV version. The normal ending music is used instead of the low pitched ending music and Captain Star says: "That was the moment I first knew we had a great team of Star Tugs."


  • At several points in the TV version, there are points where the music either stops, or cuts out completely. This is most likely because when the editing was done while cutting down the runtime, the music was not formatted properly.
  • In the first shot of the episode, the Fultan Ferry jerks a bit when it stops.
  • Due to the use of B-Roll at the start of the episode, Sunshine is seen in his Star Fleet livery working as a Star Tug, despite only joining the fleet later in the episode.
  • When Top Hat is introduced, one of the vans on Eddie is derailed.
  • In the first scene at the Star briefing, Zorran and Zak are towing barges in the background, but in a deleted scene, they are seen back at the pier. Lillie Lightship can also be seen being towed by the Coast Guard's Messenger in the first scene. But then in the next scene, they are not there.
  • During the first Star briefing scene, Warrior looks upset. Big Mac also looks cross when Captain Star tells him that he is leading the docking of the Duchess. In the same scene when Captain Star addresses O.J., the background behind him changes. Because of this, the fog disappears briefly and the sky changes from dawn to broad daylight. This is all due to the dialogue being altered between the version of the script used for filming, and the one used for editing/voice acting.
  • When the Star Tugs are whistling excitedly about the Duchess, Hercules' whistle sound can be heard, but he is nowhere to be seen.
  • During the briefing, the Star Tugs keep changing places between a handful of shots.
  • When Ten Cents leaves his fellow Star Tugs in the beginning his face becomes dirty, but a few shots before that, his face was clean.
  • When the narrator introduces Captain Zero, the scene of the Zero Dock Logo is shown at night because of the colour of the sky, but in the next scene, it is daytime again.
  • When Captain Zero speaks to his tugs at the beginning, they are facing away from him, due to these shots being reused from Jinxed.
  • During the close-ups of Zip, they can be seen facing towards him, this due to being footage having been shot during the second Zero briefing seen in the episode.
  • During close-ups of Zorran and Zak, they also change positions compared to other shots, and now having different lighting, due to being them being footage from a deleted scene of them spying on the Stars' first breifing.
  • In the closeups of Captain Zero when he moves his megaphone, a hand can be seen moving it.
  • A picture during an unknown/unused Zero briefing in the book adaptation shows Zebedee sitting low in the water. This might have been due to Zebedee floating by himself and not being positioned.
  • When Hercules heads off to go to the Coast, Ten Cents is at the Coal Yard as he leaves, but in the following shot, Ten Cents is now at Ballantine's, with there being no room for anyone to be right next to him, or anyway for someone to leave in the backwards direction as Hercules did.
  • In the scenes where Sunshine passes by Lucky's Yard before meeting Ten Cents, Ten Cents and Sunshine find Big Mac stuck on the Sandbeds, the close up of Zorran bumping Sunshine, Sunshine was trying to get back home Up River, and Sunshine being found stuck on the Sandbeds, it appears that his model has already begun the process of having the Star Fleet livery being painted back on, with him still keeping his white and black smokestack.
  • When Ten Cents shakes after being hit by Sunshine, his cap wobbles a bit.
  • Zorran calls Izzy Gomez "a South American heap of junk". Izzy, however, is from Mexico, which is located in the continent of North America.
  • When Zorran says, "Seen it with my own eyes," Top Hat is behind him, but in the closeup of Zak, there is nobody there. However in the next scene, Warrior is behind them, but in the next closeup of Zorran, Top Hat is behind him again.
  • Zorran and Zak both mention having seen the Duchess ("Seen it with my own eyes," "Yeah, we've both seen it!"), despite the fact that they didn't see the Duchess when out in the Estuary. This error is due to how the two were supposed to see smoke from the Duchess with Izzy out in the Estuary, in a shot that's mentioned in both the photobook version and script for the TV version.
  • Ten Cents has his shocked or worried expression on when he says, "Sunshine, meet Sally." This is due to a deleted scene not seen in either the 15 or 20 minute cuts, being Ten Cents asking Sally to search for Big Mac after he was run aground by Zip and Zug. Some of this scene was used in the original opening for the show.
  • When the Star Tugs are towing the Duchess, Top Hat is not moving.
  • During the towing of the Duchess, Warrior bumps into a fishing boat causing him and the Duchess to stop.
  • When Sunshine runs into the Duchess, his funnel bends backwards.
  • It is said that the Duchess goes out of control after Sunshine hits her rudder, but she does not even move. This is due to reusing footage from when Top Hat says "Yes, Where is he? We'll Never manage without Big Mac!"
  • During the scene where the tugs are watching the fireworks, Hercules can be spotted alongside the Duchess as Ten Cents heads towards him. Yet, Ten Cents is not aware that he is back until much later in the episode.
  • In the shots of Sunshine watching the fireworks, with the surrounding area in the background of his close-up shots, Sunshine is actually looking over in the direction of the Star Dock.
  • In the TV version, in the shot of Sunshine passing the Coal Yard, he would actually be passing the Zero Dock, and heading in the direction of the Star Dock, instead of the Canal.
  • When Sunshine is slipping through the port at night, the Star and Zero piers can be seen across the way, but they are completely empty.
  • In one shot while Ten Cents looks for Sunshine before running into Izzy, he can be spotted pulling something right next to him, which is never seen before or after this shot. this is because of an unused subplot only seen in scripts and this scene.
  • When Ten Cents hears Izzy in the mist, the buildings near Ballantine's can be made out in the background, despite him being out in the Estuary.
  • When Ten Cents explains to Izzy why he is looking for Sunshine, his hat moves.
  • Warrior heads further upriver when he remembers he needs to tow Izzy, instead of heading back to Bigg City Port.
  • In the final scene, when Ten Cents pulls up against Sunshine. In the bottom right of the screen, the top of the set reflecting in the water is visible.

In Other Languages

Language Title
Finnish Aurinkoinen
Japanese サンシャインとテンセンツ


Season 1

Season 2 >>

#01 Sunshine #05 Munitions #10 Jinxed
#02 Pirate #06 Warrior #11 High Winds
#03 Trapped #07 High Tide #12 Up River
#04 Regatta #08 Quarantine #13 Bigg Freeze
#09 Ghosts