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 156 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)

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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)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Fans voted this number 112 in a countdown of the 163 Doctor Who (1963) stories in Outpost Gallifrey's 40th anniversary poll in 2003. See more »


The Doctor: You must be a musician.
Earl Sigma: Sort of.
The Doctor: Your timing's good.
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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