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Happiness (1)

The Happiness Patrol

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.


Having heard rumors 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 color 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 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 favored 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 favor 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.


The Seventh Doctor