Doctor Who: Season 25, Episode 5

The Happiness Patrol: Part One (2 Nov. 1988)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Family
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 155 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 2 critic

The Doctor and Ace arrive on the earth colony of Terra Alpha, a colony that is under the misguided dictatorship of Helen A. On Terra Alpha, sadness and misery are capital crimes, and "... See full summary »



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Title: The Happiness Patrol: Part One (02 Nov 1988)

The Happiness Patrol: Part One (02 Nov 1988) on IMDb 6.8/10

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Episode cast overview:
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The Doctor and Ace arrive on the earth colony of Terra Alpha, a colony that is under the misguided dictatorship of Helen A. On Terra Alpha, sadness and misery are capital crimes, and "killjoys' (anyone who does not adhere to these strict laws) are executed on the spot by Helen A's secret police, a motley crew of female assassins known only as "The Happiness Patrol". The Doctor and Ace make it their mission to put a stop to Helen A's harsh regime, but that's all easier said than done. What with The Happiness Patrol, undercover snoop Silas P, and Helen A's carnivorous little pet Fifi to contend with, they can do with all the help they can get, joining forces with Earl Sigma, rogue Happiness Patrol member Susan Q and the native inhabitants of Terra Alpha who were driven into the pipes and sewers of the colony. There is one threat that the Doctor hasn't banked on - Helen A's prized chief executioner, a crazed android and creator of killer confectionery. This robotic menace is known only ... Written by Robert Mcelwaine

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Release Date:

2 November 1988 (UK)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The character of Helen A was intended to satirise then-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Sylvester McCoy told The Sunday Times in 2010 - "The idea of bringing politics into Doctor Who was deliberate, but we had to do it very quietly and certainly didn't shout about it...We were a group of politically motivated people and it seemed the right thing to do. At the time Doctor Who used satire to put political messages out there in the way they used to do in places like Czechoslovakia. Our feeling was that Margaret Thatcher was far more terrifying than any monster the Doctor had encountered. Those who wanted to see the messages saw them; others, including one producer, didn't." See more »


Helen A: Did you hear about the killjoy who won an outing with the Happiness Patrol? He was tickled to death.
See more »


Featured in The 50 Greatest Television Dramas (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

An intriguing, often unfairly-judged tale.
23 May 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

It pains me that all anyone can see in this is gaudiness and Bertie Bassett. The tacky, tasteless-looking scenery is intentional. This is a story involving a society who are forced to be happy on pain of death. It's also an interesting take on Britain under the reign of Thatcher, and it's still as relevant today as it was in 1988. Terra Alpha could so easily be an offshoot of 'cool Britain'. Helen A is a first-rate villain, her sincere broadcasts hiding her executions and her 'Happiness Patrol' troops who will quite happily gun down their own employees. The child-like, tantrum-throwing Kandyman and the cynical Gilbert M form a good double-act. Far from being just a kids' piece of light entertainment, this is quite a dark and intriguing tale about how happiness can't exist without sadness.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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