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The Happiness Patrol
Series: Doctor Who -
TV Stories
Season Number: Season 25
Story Number: 150
Doctor: Seventh Doctor
Companions: Ace
Enemy: Helen A
The Happiness Patrol
Kandy Man
Setting: Terra Alpha
Writer: Graeme Curry
Director: Chris Clough
Broadcast: 2nd November - 16th November 1988
Format: 3 25-minute episodes
Previous Story: Remembrance of the Daleks
Following Story: Silver Nemesis
"I only wanted the best for them."
―Helen A



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

The penalty for those found guilty of unhappiness is death in a stream of molten candy prepared by Helen A's executioner, the robotic Kandy Man, and his associate Gilbert M. The time travellers help to 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 that happiness is nothing without the contrast of sadness.


Having heard the rumours of untoward happenings, the Seventh Doctor and Ace visit a human colony on the planet Terra Alpha where they find unhappiness to be 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 more joyous colour than blue. The disappearances also worry Trevor Sigma, the official galactic censor, who is visiting Terra Alpha too to discover where so many of the population have gone – 17% at the most recent count.

The Doctor and Ace have a brief period of incarceration to find out more about the society of Terra Alpha, encountering unhappy guard Susan Q who becomes a firm ally. Both split up, with the Doctor encountering 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 governance system, where they discover rebels drowned in fondant surprise, which is 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 effect an escape and 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 now starts actively subverting the government system – supporting demonstrations in favour of unhappiness and stirring up the drones to revolt; preventing snipers removing malcontents; and even challenging Helen A face to face to end the monstrosity of her government.

Ace and Susan Q have meanwhile been scheduled to appear in the late show at the Forum, where the penalty for non-entertainment is death. The Doctor and Earl rescue them both and the four head off to Helen A’s palace for a final showdown while a revolution takes full effect outside the palace walls. The first to be disposed of is Helen A’s pet Stigorax, Fifi, a rat-dog creature she used to hunt down the Pipe People, which is crushed in the pipes below the city. Then 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 opportunity of 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 once the TARDIS has been repainted blue.




  • The Doctor notes that Theta Sigma was his 'nickname at college'.
  • The Doctor is heard singing a verse of "As Time Goes By".
  • Terra Alpha is an Earth colony of at least 3 million people, the humans having driven the native inhabitants underground.
  • Earth is known, but isn't the centre of power, which has shifted to the galactic centre, home of the Galactic Census Bureau.
  • Ace loves dinosaurs, and hates lift music. She can't play an instrument, dance or sing.
  • The Doctor refers to the Brigadier, and his confrontation with a Triceratops as well as a Pteradactyl in the Underground.
  • The Doctor uses lemonade to stick the Kandy man's feet to the ground and water to unstick him.

Story Notes

  • This story had the working title; The Crooked Smile.
  • Patricia Routledge, best known for her role as Hyacinth on "Keeping Up Appearances," was originally considered for the role of Helen A, but turned it down.
  • 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.


  • Part 1 - 5.3 million viewers
  • Part 2 - 4.6 million viewers
  • Part 3 - 5.3 million viewers


  • Part Three of this story was originally intended to consist of animation rather than live action. (It wasn't.)

Filming Locations

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

to be added



DVD and Video Releases

  • A DVD commentary has been recorded.


Main article: The Happiness Patrol (novelisation)

See also

to be added

External Links

  • BBC - Doctor Who - The Classic Series - Episode Guide: The Happiness Patrol
  • Doctor Who Reference Guide - Detailed Synopsis - The Happiness Patrol
  • Doctor Who: A Brief History of Time (Travel) - A Brief History of Time (Travel): The Happiness Patrol
Season 25
Remembrance of the Daleks  • The Happiness Patrol  • Silver Nemesis  • The Greatest Show in the Galaxy

This article uses material from the "The Happiness Patrol" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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