The Happiness Patrol
2 November 1988
Rachel Bell (Priscilla P), Lesley Dunlop (Susan Q), Ronald Fraser (Joseph C), Georgina Hale (Daisy K), Sheila Hancock (Helen A), Harold Innocent (Gilbert M), John Normington (Trevor Sigma), David John Pope (Kandy Man), Richard D Sharp (Earl Sigma).
|Written by||Graeme Curry|
|Directed by||Chris Clough|
|Produced by||John Nathan Turner|
The Doctor has heard stories of strange and sinister goings-on on Earth colony Terra Alpha. Citizens have disappeared without trace, and strange creatures lurk in the pipes and sewers under the capital city. Believing it is high time someone got to the bottom of the mystery, The Doctor declares to his young companion Ace that tonight will be the night… He discovers that Terra Alpha is ruled by the tyrannical Helen A, a dictator who requires her subjects to be happy… or die. Her roving death squads – the Happiness Patrol – are empowered to kill on sight anyone displaying signs of sadness, gloom or melancholy.
However, it is not just the sadistic Happiness Patrol that The Doctor and Ace must contend with. Before they can discover the dark secret of Helen A’s regime, they must face the fearsome bloodlust of her savage pet, Fifi, and the lethal surprises cooked up by her chief executioner – and confectioner supreme – the Kandy Man.
- In the scenes set in the underground tunnels in Part Three the Kandy Man has no metal brace around his mouth.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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”.