Monday 1 October 2012

678 The Happiness Patrol Part One

EPISODE: The Happiness Patrol Part One
TRANSMITTED: Wednesday 02 November 1988
WRITER: Graeme Curry
DIRECTOR: Chris Clough
SCRIPT EDITOR: Andrew Cartmel
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 5.3 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: Ace Adventures Box Set (Dragonfire/The Happiness Patrol)

The Doctor and Ace arrive on the planet Terra Alpha which the Doctor has heard some disturbing rumours about. They are quickly arrested by the Happiness Patrol meeting a fellow prisoner. Harold V, who was searching for his brother who disappeared. The brother is killed by the fondant surprise, and then Harold electrocuted by a fruit machine. They escape, but Ace is recaptured and then escapes again with the help of disillusioned Happiness Patrol member Susan Q. The doctor meets the harmonoica playing Earl Sigma and they infiltrate the Kandy Kitchen only to be cornered by the Kandyman.

You watch this, with it's odd flat sets, pink make-up and a seeming planet of miserable people, people being killed for not being happy and a send up of the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher..... Well you think what am I watching and has someone slipped something in my tea? It's really odd a complete departure from the realism of the previous story. And, come to think of it, most of the stories in the preceding 24 seasons.

Gunging someone to death? Am I watching Crackerjack ? That was regular Dalek operator Cy Town by the way!

And the Kandyman..... Ah yes, whoever thought that was a good idea? It looks very silly and just like Bertie Bassett, mascot of Bassett's Liquorice Allsorts, no wonder Bassets complained. Script Editor Andrew Cartmel should have been aware of a similar situation a few years previously during Judge Dredd's The Cursed Earth story where characters resembling famous mascots appeared and IPC were subsequently warned by lawyers and those episodes featuring them have never been reprinted! Surely the sinister Peter Miles in a lab coat would have been a better choice than this?

As made The Happiness Patrol was originally scheduled to close this season of Doctor Who. However coverage of the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul delayed the start of the season and, in order that an episode of Silver Nemesis could be broadcast on the show's actual anniversary November 23rd the four part Greatest Show in the Galaxy, made second, was swapped for the three part Happiness Patrol.


Production Order:

7H Remembrance of the Daleks
7J The Greatest Show in the Galaxy
7K Silver Nemesis
7L The Happiness Patrol

Broadcast Order:

7H Remembrance of the Daleks
7L The Happiness Patrol
7K Silver Nemesis
7J The Greatest Show in the Galaxy

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