Name: Helen A
Format: Television show
Time of Origin: Unspecified date in the future on the Terra Alpha colony
Appearances: “The Happiness Patrol”
Doctors: Seventh Doctor
As villains go, Helen A earns points for one of the most bizarre and twisted motives ever conceived, wanting to create a ‘happy’ planet where everyone was always smiling, but seeking to achieve this goal through threats and murder dressed up in as cheerful a manner as possible. The original name of the planet where Helen A set up this colony was never specified, but it came to be known as the Terra Alpha colony, with people being sorted by rank according to a letter after their first names; Helen A was in charge, her consort was Joseph C, and her original joke-writer was known as Harold F before being demoted to Harold V. She drove the original residents of the planet underground, forcing them to live in the pipes, classifying them as vermin and ordering them to be shot on sight, and ‘controlled’ the human population by eliminating 17% of them to deal with the overcrowding, even after she destroyed the most depressing township on the planet for not going along with her attempt to offer them the ‘opportunities’ to be happy.
Determined to make her world ‘happy’, Helen A had her staff and all citizens dress in bright ‘cheerful’ clothes – predominately pink in colour -, play the futuristic equivalent of elevator music at all times around the city, and had anything remotely depressing, ranging from dark clothing to blues music, disposed of; she even had no prisons, but merely Waiting Zones – simple areas defined by lines on the ground, which moved location according to the time of night, keeping prisoners contained only because the guards would shoot anyone who crossed the lines – where those arrested would wait until they could be ‘disappeared’.
One of her primary agents was the Kandyman, an android being literally made of candy who worked in Helen A’s kitchens, doubling up as her executioner; his primary method of murder was creating sweets that were so intense in flavour that the taster died as the sensory input overwhelmed their minds. In his capacity as executioner, he arranged death by fondant surprise – where the subject was drowned in chocolate – and fed people his incredible sweets in the Kandy Kitchen. She was also known to use Fifi, her pet stigorax – a dog-sized creature shaped like a rat with the teeth of a shark – to carry out executions, with Fifi being the only thing she consistently showed genuine affection for.
Helen A’s rule was finally threatened when the Seventh Doctor and Ace travelled to the Terra Alpha colony, Ace immediately disliking the sham ‘happiness’ of the colony environment while The Doctor was resolved to investigate the strange disappearances that had been taking place on the colony. Having discovered bullet hols on a bench, The Doctor deliberately allowed himself to be arrested by revealing his status as an alien to a Happiness Patrol group led by Daisy K who were repainting the TARDIS pink to make it more ‘cheerful’. Although their escape attempt nearly backfired when the rigged go-cart they had taken stalled, Ace allowed herself to be captured to help The Doctor escape, subsequently managing to befriend Susan Q, a member of the Happiness Patrol who had become disillusioned with her work.
While trying to escape, The Doctor encountered travelling psychology student and blues player Trevor Sigma, but the two were captured and taken to the Kandyman while Ace was taken to another waiting zone for her upcoming execution. Exploiting the Kandyman’s confectionary construction, The Doctor immobilised the assassin by tipping over a bottle of lemonade to stick it in place, giving him the chance to rescue Ace from the fondant surprise system and allowing her to make contact with the Pipe People who had been learning the language of rebellion from watching her in secret. With Earl on the run, The Doctor met with Trevor Sigma – an observer sent by the central government of the local system – and was able to establish the scale of Helen A’s crimes; the list depicting six months’ worth of ‘disappeared’ colonists was so long that it extended all the way across the central square of the colony.
When the Happiness Patrol tracked down The Doctor and Earl, The Doctor was able to escape arrest by exaggerating how happy he was to see Ace and Susan Q alive as they were being escorted to their new execution – as well as arranging an impromptu party with the aid of various local workers -, to the point that, when another Happiness Patrol division arrived, they were forced to fight the first patrol as they were the only people in the square who actually seemed to be miserable, as The Doctor, Ace and Susan were happy to see each other and the workers were all celebrating. As the Happiness Patrol fought itself, The Doctor and his allies forced the Kandyman into the fondant surprise pipes, using Earl’s harmonica to play a note that destroyed the crystallised sugar in the pipes – killing Fifi after Helen A sent him into the pipes to hunt the Pipe People – before the Kandyman was melted down to his robotic components.
As Helen A attempted to flee the planet – despite Joseph C and Kandy Man assistant Gilbert M taking her escape shuttle -, The Doctor confronted her directly, informing her that her entire plan was based on the flawed premise of happiness being the absence of sadness rather than the ability to be happy while still acknowledging that there were things to be sad about, and that the ‘happiness’ she had created was cosmetic at best. Although Helen A rejected this assessment at first, when she witnessed Fifi’s death, she was finally moved to tears, The Doctor leaving her a broken woman as Earl and Susan Q set to work teaching Terra Alpha how to enjoy the blues once more.
The Kandyman’s remains were apparently shot off into space, but he was later recovered and reconstructed by the Fourth Doctor’s old enemy Count Grendel (“The Androids of Tara”), only to be was destroyed once again when he tried to kill Tara’s queen Strella (“The Trials of Tara”).