Doctor Who: The Happiness Patrol (Story #152)

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6.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 6/10

Fun story

Kandy Man

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Starring the much maligned Kandy Man! Isn’t he precious?

Everyone on the planet Terra Alpha is happy…they have no choice.  With the Happiness Patrol ensuring that everyone has a smile on their face, the Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) and Ace (Sophie Aldred) find that not being happy on Terra Alpha can have consequences.  Ruled by Helen A (Sheila Hancock) and tormented by her monster the Kandy Man, the Doctor and Ace must set out to liberate Terra Alpha so the Killjoys can live in peace.

Doctor Who:  The Happiness Patrol aired in the twenty-fifth season of the long running BBC series.  The serial aired in three parts from November 2, 1988 to November 16, 1988.  Following Doctor Who:  Remembrance of the Daleks, Doctor Who:  The Happiness Patrol was collected as part of The Sylvester McCoy Years as Story #153 (or Story #152 depending on how you count the unaired Tom Baker story Doctor Who:  Shada).

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Who’s a good dog?

Doctor Who:  The Happiness Patrol is one of those rather debated Doctor Who serials.  Many find it to be an example of why the show was declining, but others felt it was better than some of the other recent entries.  I can see both sides of the argument.

As far as the basic concept goes, I like story of this serial.  I like the idea of a planet where sadness is not allowed and those who dare to be sad are eliminated.  It is like a large scale version of the old Twilight Zone episode “It’s a Good Life” which had a boy forcing everyone to be happy and his friend.  It is an admirable idea to have everyone happy, but sadness does provide the world with challenges and change.

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…and Ace was captured by Jem and the Holograms

The problem with this series lies in the character of the Kandy Man.  The Kandy Man is a lethal enforcer that is as his title implies…candy.  It is quite ridiculous and goofy and the Kandy Man just isn’t scary or up to the level of the series.  I understand why they picked a rather goofy villain to match with the story, but it is just too much.

Doctor Who:  The Happiness Patrol is a serial that almost works for me.  It possesses a lot of what made Doctor Who fun in the first place but takes it too far with goofy premises and moments that just aren’t effective.  I don’t love McCoy and Ace is take-her-or-leave-her at points, but I found this serial a bit more watchable than some of the other entries around this episode.  Doctor Who:  The Happiness Patrol was followed by Doctor Who:  Silver Nemesis.

Preceded By:

Doctor Who:  Remembrance of the Daleks (Story #151)

Followed By:

Doctor Who:  Silver Nemesis (Story #153)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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