Caught Purple Handed
"Ernie, I presume! This is for you, a purple tea-time tree. A very rare specimen!"
Season 1, Episode 6
Vital statistics
Air date 12/06/2006
Written by Diane Redmond
Directed by Brian Mitchell
Episode guide
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Pulling Together Ernie's Big Trip
Caught Purple Handed is the sixth episode of Underground Ernie. It originally aired on CBeebies on June 12th 2006.


Famous explorer Ivor Leaf visits the Underground, bringing with him the Purple Teatime Tree, telling Ernie to hold a special unveiling ceremony for the tree, which must be at teatime. Ivor then leaves to see the rest of the Underground aboard Circle, much to Victoria's dismay, who goes to deliver the tree to the botanical gardens.

While Ivor explores Sprout’s Organic Farm, Mr Rails finds the tree at the botanical gardens, and takes it with him among other flowers to make the other stations look nicer. When he arrives at International Underground, he puts the tree down once he finds his hands have turned purple, and Millie sends him straight to the hospital. The tree is then picked up by Alice and Bakerloo, who take it to Mystery Mansion. Alice also gets purple hands, but ignores Bakerloo’s wild assumptions and goes to the unveiling ceremony.

Everyone arrives at the ceremony only to find the tree missing, to which Alice and a recovered Mr Rails admit to taking the tree. Ivor explains the tree turns hands purple; an effect that only lasts a few days, much to Mr Rails’ relief, while Ernie goes to find it. Ernie returns just in time for the tree’s leaves to blossom and emit a beautiful song, much to the amazement of everyone there. It turns out it's called a teatime tree because that happens every afternoon. At the sheds that night, Jubilee and Bakerloo laugh at Victoria, whose nose has turned purple from sniffing the tree, much to her embarrassment.




  • The title of this episode is a play on the phrase "caught red handed".


  • Ernie's feet slide around on the platform at the botanical gardens.
  • Hammersmith's left eye is missing when Mr Rails leaves the funfair.
  • Circle is waiting behind Ernie when Ivor Leaf arrives, but in the shot of Ivor greeting Ernie, she's gone. Then after the shot of Victoria speaking, she's changed tracks.
  • When Mr Rails arrives at the botanical gardens, the Multi-Tooled Maintenance Machine isn't on the tracks.
  • Alice's legs are replaced by test ones when she gets off at the botanical gardens.
  • At the botanical gardens, Victoria disappears and Ernie 1 appears out of nowhere when Ernie goes to get the tree. Victoria reappears when Ernie returns, but then in the shot of the passengers clapping, she's replaced by Circle.
  • Victoria's mouth doesn't move when she says "Oh dear" at the end.


Series 1
Pop DecoySir ClunkalotMr Rails Never FailsBrooklyn and Rocky Two-ShoesPulling TogetherCaught Purple HandedErnie's Big TripFinders KeepersThe Magician's AssistantCover StoryMillie's Dream DayMr Movie JonesSummer BreezeRunning LateLight At The End Of The TunnelThe Wreck Of Sea Shell BayCatnappedMonster MysteryBon AppetitA Change Is As Good As A RestElementary, My Dear Bakerloo!The Magic LampHow Great The ArtThe Mayor's VisitTechno TroubleSnow Go
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