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The Happiness Patrol was the second story in the twenty-fifth season of Doctor Who. It was intended (by the writers) to be a parody of Thatcherism, with Helen A representing Margaret Thatcher herself. (DOC: Happiness Will Prevail)

Synopsis Edit

The TARDIS arrives on the planet Terra Alpha, where the Seventh Doctor and Ace discover a society in which sadness is against the law - a law enforced zealously by the brightly uniformed Happiness Patrol. The planet is ruled by Helen A with the aid of her companion, Joseph C, and her carnivorous pet Stigorax, Fifi.

The penalty for those found guilty of unhappiness is death in a stream of molten candy prepared by Helen A's executioners, the robotic Kandy Man and his associate, Gilbert M. The time travellers help foment rebellion amongst the downtrodden population and the subterranean Pipe People — the planet's original inhabitants — and Helen A is overthrown.

Joseph C and Gilbert M escape in a shuttle, while the Kandy Man is destroyed and Fifi killed. Helen A finally realises the hard way that happiness is nothing without the contrast of sadness.

Plot Edit

Having heard rumours of untoward happenings, the Seventh Doctor and Ace visit a human colony on the planet Terra Alpha, where they find unhappiness is an illegal act. In a perverse society ruled by the vicious and egotistical Helen A, the Happiness Patrol is a secret police force which hunts down killjoys and eliminates them. It also repaints the TARDIS pink as a colour more joyous than blue. The disappearances also worry Trevor Sigma, the official galactic censor. He is visiting Terra Alpha too, to discover where so many of the population have gone – 17% at the most recent count.


The Kandy Man

The Doctor and Ace have a brief incarceration to find out more about the society of Terra Alpha. They encounter unhappy guard Susan Q, who becomes a firm ally. They split up. The Doctor meets another visitor to the planet, Earl Sigma, a wandering harmonica player who stirs unrest by playing the blues. Earl and the Doctor venture to the Kandy Kitchen at the heart of the planet's government. They find rebels drowned in fondant surprise, the favoured method of execution of the Kandy Man - a grotesque, sweet-based equivalent of a robot, created by Gilbert M, one of Helen A's senior advisers.

The Doctor and Earl affect an escape by the Doctor causing the Kandy Man to accidentally stick himself to the floor. They end up in the candy pipes below the colony, where dwell the native inhabitants of Terra Alpha, now known as Pipe People. They want to help overthrow the tyranny of Helen A. The Doctor returns to the surface and starts actively subverting the government system – supporting demonstrations in favour of unhappiness and stirring up the drones to revolt; preventing snipers from removing malcontents; and even challenging Helen A face-to-face to end the monstrosity of her government.

Meanwhile, Ace and Susan Q have been scheduled to appear in the late show at the Forum, where the penalty for non-entertainment is death. When Ace says she supports the Killjoys she is gagged until at the waiting zone. The Doctor and Earl rescue them. The four head to Helen A's palace for a final showdown, while a revolution rages outside the palace walls. The first to be disposed of is Helen A's pet Stigorax, Fifi, a rat-dog creature she had used to hunt down the Pipe People. Fifi is crushed in the pipes below the city. Next, the Pipe People destroy the Kandy Man in a flow of his own fondant surprise. Gilbert M and Joseph C, the consort of the leader, use the disorder to slip away. Helen A tries to flee too, but is challenged by the Doctor about the true nature of happiness, which can only be understood if counter-balanced by sadness. This is a notion she understands only when confronted with the remains of Fifi. The revolution is complete and the Doctor and Ace slip away – but only after the TARDIS has been repainted blue.

Cast Edit

Crew Edit

References Edit

The Doctor Edit

  • The Doctor notes that Theta Sigma was his 'nickname at college'.

Culture Edit

  • The Doctor sings a verse of "As Time Goes By".
  • The letter behind each person's name appears to be a kind of status marker. The leader has an A after her name, and her husband a C. The killjoy Harold V was called Harold F when he was the gag writer for Helen A, but was later degraded.
  • Terra Alphans use the word "killjoy" to describe the people who rebel against Helen A.

Foods and beverages Edit

  • The Doctor uses lemonade to stick the Kandy Man's feet to the ground and water to unstick him.

Individuals Edit

  • Ace loves dinosaurs and hates lift music. She can't play an instrument, dance or sing.
  • Ace wears a Charlton Athletic badge on her jacket.

Planets Edit

Species Edit

  • The Doctor last met a Stigorax in Birmingham in the 25th century. He describes them as 'Ruthless, intelligent predators.'

Story notes Edit

  • This story had the working title The Crooked Smile. (This title also appeared as that of a local news-sheet read by some of the characters.)
  • In the scenes set in the underground tunnels in Part Three, the Kandy Man has no metal brace around his mouth. This was added to the costume following these initial recordings to try to disguise the features of the actor inside.
  • The howl of Helen A's pet Stigorax Fifi was actually the modulated sound of director Chris Clough's own voice.
  • The character of Helen A was intended to satirise then-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The character would say, "I like your initiative, your enterprise" while her secret police rounded up dissidents. In the story, the Doctor persuades "the drones", who toil in the factories and mines, to down tools and rise up in revolt, an echo of the miners' strikes and printers' disputes during Thatcher's first two terms in office. [1]
  • The Radio Times programme listing for part three was accompanied by a black and white photograph of Helen A holding Fifi, and Joseph C standing alongside, with the accompanying caption "Helen A (Sheila Hancock), Joseph C (Ronald Fraser) and furry friend are less than happy with the Doctor's interference / BBC1, 7.35 p.m. Doctor Who".
  • According to Sylvester McCoy in an interview for DWM 425, this story was originally planned to be filmed in black-and-white. McCoy said that he had only known this after it was filmed and said that he would've begged the production team to film in black and white, as he thought the sets were lacking.
  • After part two of aired, the chairman and CEO of Bassett Foods wrote a letter of complaint to John Nathan-Turner, stating that the Kandy Man infringed on the copyright for his company's mascot, Bertie Bassett (a humanoid figure made of liquorice allsorts). A representative of the BBC Copyright Department replied, saying that there had been no violation of Bassett's copyright, but assuring the company that the Kandy Man would not return to the series.
  • Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, referred to this story in his 2011 Easter sermon, on the subject of happiness and joy.[2]
  • Steve Swinscoe and Mark Carroll are credited as 'Snipers' on-screen, but the Radio Times programme listing for part two gives their character names as David S and Alex S.
  • David John Pope (Kandy Man) is credited as 'Kandyman' in Radio Times.
  • Tim Scott (Doorman) is credited as 'Forum Doorman' in Radio Times for part three.

Ratings Edit

  • Part one - 5.3 million viewers
  • Part two - 4.6 million viewers
  • Part three - 5.3 million viewers

Myths Edit

  • Part three of this story was originally intended to consist of animation rather than live action. (It wasn't.)
  • This story was to promote homosexuality (This is not the case at all. In The Discontinuity Guide, Paul Cornell, Martin Day and Keith Topping identify a gay subtext to the story: "there's entrapment over cottaging, the TARDIS is painted pink, and the victim of the fondant surprise is every inch the proud gay man, wearing, as he does, a pink triangle. The story ends with Helen A's husband abandoning her and leaving with another man." However, the homosexual themes were not noticed by the BBC until this article was written.)

Filming locations Edit

Production errors Edit

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • During the sequences of the Kandy Man in the underground tunnels in part three, the metal brace around the character's mouth is missing.
  • When Joseph C greets Helen A from aboard the escape shuttle in Part Three, he mistakenly refers to her as "Ellen Hay."

Continuity Edit

Home video and audio releases Edit

  • This episode was released on DVD in the 'Ace Adventures' box set, along with Dragonfire, on 7th May 2012.

DVD Contents:

External links Edit

Footnotes Edit