7L. The Happiness Patrol

Season Twenty Five - 1988

Script Editor: Andrew Cartmel
Produced by: John Nathan-Turner
Writer: Graeme Curry
Director: Chris Clough
Designer: John Asbridge
Incidental Music: Dominic Glynn


In the grey corridors of Earth colony Terra Alpha a solitary, unhappy, woman sits down on a bench whilst the blues echo in the background. Shortly after sitting down a man whispers from behind a pillar asking the woman if she wants to talk. The man tells her there is a secret place where people go to dwell in their depression. The man hands her his card. On one side is his name - Silas P. The other side says Happiness Patrol Undercover. Moments after blowing his whistle the pink uniformed women of the Happiness Patrol arrest the woman.

The TARDIS materialises in the Terra Alpha colony. The Doctor had heard rumours about Terra Alpha and decided to have a look in to them. The constant "lift music" playing in the background is starting to drive Ace mad. She doesn't know how the natives stand it. The Doctor approaches a man who immediately asks the Doctor and Ace for their name - and does not accept aliases or nicknames - proper names only. The man - Trevor Sigma - is on official business from Galactic Centre.

Having left the TARDIS the Happiness Patrol come across it, and start to paint in a more cheerful pink rather that leave it a dull blue.

The Doctor and Ace find the chair that the woman had been sitting in when she was arrested. The Doctor knows something is wrong the Doctor says their next move should be to get themselves arrested to. They make their way back to the now pink TARDIS and meet one of the Happiness Patrol, who is armed. She thinks the Doctor is unhappy, but he assures her is is happy, and that the paint on the TARDIS is an improvement. The woman accuses them of being killjoys. When the Doctor explains they are visitors the woman orders them to stick to the specified tourist zones, but does not take the matter any further.

Eager to be arrested the Doctor reminds the woman that all off-world personnel are issued with badges at customs. When she asks the Doctor for his badge he says he doesn't have one. Without a badge the Doctor is arrested as a spy and will disappear. Ace will audition for the Happiness Patrol.

The Doctor and Ace are taken to an open area rather than a prison. In the corner there is a fruit machine with a man playing. The Doctor tells him which buttons to press, but he loses. He tells the Doctor he doesn't mind losing. for one thing he is a Killjoy, and the second is he doesn't like the prize. On the second go the man wins, and the prize is a bad joke told by Helen A - ruler of the colony. The man says he used to be Harold F. - Helen A's gag writer. He tells the Doctor and Ace that everything was okay until his brother disappeared. He had heard of other disappearances, and was arrested trying to contact Terra Omega, and regraded to Harold V.

The Doctor asks a woman standing guard - Priscilla P. - about the prison they are in. She tells him there are no prisons on Terra Alpha, they are miserable places. They are in the waiting zone. As they are not in a place of incarceration the Doctor thinks they are free to leave at any time. Priscilla P. says they are not in a prison, but if he tries to leave the waiting zone he is a dead man as she aims a weapon at him.

The Doctor goes back to Harold V. and learns that Helen A. and the Happiness patrol punishes people for wearing dark clothes (public grief), listening to slow music, reading poems (unless they're limericks) and walking in the rain. Harold V. says the Happiness Patrol is the nice side of the regime, and to beware of the Kandy Man.

Elsewhere the Happiness Patrol are preparing to execute a man in black clothes for public grief. It appears to be a firing squad, but the man is confused when the Happiness Patrol are dismissed. Unseen Helen A. operates a control and a cylinder descends over the man.

In the Kandy kitchen an alarm sounds. The Kandy Man pulls some levers and a strawberry fondant starts to pump. When the cylinder is retracted the man inside is dead, and falls to the ground covered in fondant. The man is the brother of Harold V. Helen A. operates another control, and the fruit machines gives a fatal electric shock to Harold V.

The Doctor spots a go-kart in the waiting zone. He asks Priscilla P. what she would do it he was to get in it and drive off. She would do nothing, leading the Doctor to believe that it is booby-trapped. As they are only in a waiting zone the Doctor examines the go-kart and disables the booby-trap. Ace starts it up and drives off with the Doctor holding on. The go-kart soon breaks down, and the Doctor says he needs time to fix it. Ace buys him that time by confronting the Happiness Patrol group that is looking for them and telling them she is ready for the auditions.

Whilst the Doctor gets the go-kart running and evades capture by the Happiness Patrol Ace is beginning her audition rehearsal with Susan Q. by playing the spoons (taught to her by the Doctor). Susan Q. confides in Ace that she cannot go on pretending she is happy all the time, and lets Ace escape.

The Doctor's repairs do not last long, and he asks a man (Silas P. undercover) if he has any tools. He tells the Doctor about pockets of resistance. He hands the Doctor his card. He whistles for the Happiness Patrol but knocked unconscious by Earl Sigma. The Doctor and Earl Sigma move off before the Happiness Patrol arrives. They find an unhappy Silas P. and fire upon him.

Earl Sigma (all off-world visitors are given the name Sigma) is a medical student travelling through the colonies to pay his way, and is now stuck on Terra Alpha. The Doctor, along with Earl, find they way to the Kandy kitchen. When they hear Gilbert M. they duck under a table. The Kandy Man appears and asks Gilbert M. where his test subjects are. Gilbert M. says they are under the table, but the Doctor and Earl have moved away. They try to run but the Kandy Man is too quick and closes a gate, trapping them in the kitchen.

Ace is caught by a Happiness Patrol, and is taken back to the rehearsal rooms. On the way they see a protest demonstration with drones - workers from the flatlands - in dark clothes walking slowly. Watching, unseen, from one of the pipes is a pipe-person, as Ace is taken back to waiting zone. It's in a different place, and ace is told the waiting zone moves depending on the time of night.

In the kitchen the Doctor and Earl are restrained. The Kandy Man says he does have a softer side. He can make sweets that are so tasty the human physiology is unequipped to bear the pleasure. In other words he makes sweets that kill. The Doctor tries to learn from the Kandy Man what other methods of execution he uses. The Kandy Man tells him about the fondant surprise method (used on Harold V's brother), and tells the Doctor that there is a way to stop an execution, and that he will not go into specifics.

Earlier the Kandy Man had said he had a soft centre - not a heart. The Doctor enquiries what his heart is made of, and the Kandy Man says it's all in there: glucose, sherbet, toffee, marzipan and gelling agents. The Doctor angers the Kandy Man, and in his anger the Kandy Man breaks a bottle of lemonade on the floor. It reacts sticking him to the ground. The Doctor takes the opportunity to free himself and Earl and escape into the pipes.

The pipes contain crystallised sugar, meaning the pipes have not pumped anything for some time. Travelling through the pipes the Doctor finds footprints. Turning around he finds armed pipe-people.

In the waiting zone Ace is joined by Susan Q., who has been arrested. Susan Q. is taken away first for a 'routine disappearance.' One of the pipe-people emerges and throws a spear to Ace. The distraction allows Ace to escape from the Priscilla P.

In the pipes the Doctor and Earl are going with the pipe people, who are close to starvation. They lead the Doctor and Earl to a manhole, where on the surface he meets Trevor Sigma again. The Doctor learns that Trevor Sigma is performing a census, and has authority to enter all Alphan property. The Doctor asks Trevor to take him to the leader.

Helen A. is getting a status report from Daisy K. about how Priscilla P. was overpowered. She asks where the perpetrators went and is told they went into the pipes. Helen A. decides it is time her pet - Fifi - had a little exercise. A Happiness Patrol group takes Fifi and lets it go into the pipes.

Trevor Sigma takes the Doctor to see Joesph C. and Helen A. Helen A. tells Trevor that she has adopted some of the Galactic Bureau's recommendations, and has controlled the population down 17% and eliminated overcrowding, although she did use her own programme and not the Bureau's.

In the pipes Ace, and her rescuer, can hear Fifi behind them. Ace throws a can of Nitro-9 and causes an explosion in the pipe, injuring Fifi and allowing them to escape.

In the streets of colony two snipers are watching the demonstration by the sugar factory workers. One of the snipers can see the Doctor but can't get a proper lock through all the columns. Moments later he appears behind them. With the Doctor stood at close range the sniper cannot bring himself to shoot.

Susan Q. is due to undergo a fondant surprise execution. With the Kandy Man still stuck in the kitchen it is left to Gilbert M. to start the flow of fondant. The Doctor returns to the kitchen with a water fire extinguisher. He frees the Kandy Man so he can stop the fondant flow, which he does. But when the Kandy Man then turns on the Doctor he sprays more lemonade, sticking the Kandy Man to the floor.

With Susan Q's execution interrupted, and Ace recaptured, Helen A. tells them they are both to audition for the Happiness Patrol (Susan Q. is no longer a member of the Happiness Patrol). Auditions do not always go well for the participants. The Doctor tells Earl to bring the demonstrators to the auditions. Helen A. is watching the demonstration and orders Happiness Patrol section F to effect a large scale disappearance.

Having nursed Fifi back to health Helen A. and Joesph C. release Fifi back into the pipes. At the same time, Ace and Susan Q. are brought to where they will audition and are met by the Doctor. The Happiness Patrol aim their guns at the Doctor, but he starts to behave like a clown. Because the Happiness Patrol see a happy person their logic tells them not to shoot. Soon the demonstrators join in, and are also immune from the Happiness Patrol. Helen A. decides to take personal care of the disturbance, and tells Joseph C. to wait for Fifi, who is chasing the pipe-people through the maze of pipes. The Doctor, Ace, Susan Q. and Earl leave the square and head into the pipes. They can hear Fifi's howling through echoing in the pipes. They meet up with the pipe people. The Doctor takes them to an area where there are tons of crystallised sugar overhead, and a specific resonance could send the whole lot crashing down.

The Doctor asks Earl to play different notes to cause the resonance. In the tunnels Fifi hears the sound and replies with the same note. Once the correct resonance is found tons of crystallised sugar buries Fifi.

In the colony the factory guards are joining forces with the drones to attack the Nevani sugar beet plant in sector six. Helen A. tries to remain upbeat, saying it is only one plant and she has had many other built. Helen A. needs someone dedicated to turn the situation around - someone like Priscilla P. When she tries to contact her Helen a. sees that Earl has her restrained on the ground.

As more factories fall, and the Kandy Man is defeated, Helen A. is discovered packing by Daisy K. Helen A. checks on her escape shuttle, but it leaves orbit - with Joseph C. and Gilbert M. - leaving Helen A. behind. Helen A. goes out through a back way and into the streets as her personal quarters are taken by the Doctor, Ace, Susan Q and Earl.

The Doctor goes back into the colony and finds Helen A. heading towards a scheduled flight due to leave the planet. Helen A. tells the Doctor that all she wanted was people to be happy. The unhappy people had to be stopped for the good of the majority. The Doctor tells her sadness and happiness need to exist side by side - two sides of the same coin.

Only when Helen A. discovers the body of Fifi does she truly understand about sadness and being unhappy, and how people cannot be forced to be happy.

Regular Cast

  • Ace: Sophie Aldred

Guest Cast

  • Helen A: Sheila Hancock
  • Joseph C: Ronald Fraser
  • Daisy K: Georgina Hale
  • Priscilla P: Rachel Bell
  • Trevor Sigma: John Normington
  • Susan Q: Lesley Dunlop
  • Earl Sigma: Richard D, Sharp
  • Gilbert M: Harold Innocence
  • The Kandyman: David John Pope
  • Harold V: Tim Barker (1)
  • Silas P: Jonathan Burn (1)
  • Killjoy: Mary Healey (1)
  • Wences: Philip Nerve (2-3)
  • Wulfric: Ryan Freedman (2-3)
  • Forum Doorman: Tim Scott (2-3)
  • First Sniper (David S): Steve Swinscoe (2)
  • Second Sniper (Alex S): Mark Carroll (2)
  • Newscaster: Annie Huller (3)
  • Execution Victim: Cy Town (1)
  • Pipe People: Bilent Hassan, Charles Martin, Steven Martin, Lee Pearse
  • Happiness Patrol: Arie Alaime, Olwyn Atkinson, Heather Downham, June Easther, Selvia Gilbert, Julie Lawrence, Carole Mudie

Original broadcast on the BBC

Channel Title Date Viewers Rating
BBC 1 672. Part One Wednesday, November 2, 1988 7:35 PM - 8:00 PM 5.3M 47%
BBC 1 673. Part Two 1 Wednesday, November 9, 1988 7:35 PM - 8:00 PM 4.6M 65%
BBC 1 674. Part Three 2 Wednesday, November 16, 1988 7:35 PM - 8:00 PM 65%
1: Position is outside the top 100
2: No. of viewers is unknown


  • Television Centre Studio 3
  • Television Centre Studio 8


Part 1 & 3: When the Doctor taps the sugar crystal stalactites they swing about a bit. Being sugar surely they would have broken off or disintegrated?

Part 2: When Earl Sigma leaves the Doctor and Trevor Sigma, Trevor turns as if hearing something before the harmonica music starts (then he says "Hey, that's nice," just as it begins).

When the Doctor is repairing the buggy, in the background one of the Happiness Patrol rushes out, realises it isn't her cue, and runs back again.

Working Titles

The Crooked Smile