Sue: I’m looking forward to this one, now that Doctor Who is good again.
Sue notices this story’s title.
Sue: The Happiness Patrol? Isn’t there a band called The Happiness Patrol?
Me: No, that’s Snow Patrol.
Sue: Oh yes. Sorry.
The story begins in a dimly lit street.
Sue: It sounds like the music to a Spaghetti Western. Is this Keff?
Me: No, it’s not Keff.
Sue: I didn’t think so. There’s a melody.
A miserable woman is approached by a man named Silas P. He tells her there is a secret place where she can wallow in her sadness.
Sue: Is he a Scientologist?
No, Silas P is an undercover Happiness Patrol agent and the poor woman is brutally murdered by a gang of women dressed in pink.
Sue: Right, so on this planet they kill you if you are unhappy. Is that the basic gist?
Me: Yes, that’s about it.
Sue: If they employed that rule where I worked, the place would be a morgue.
The TARDIS materialises on Terra Alpha.
Sue: What is that terrible music? Are you sure this isn’t Keff?
Ace has exactly the same problem.
Ace: I hate that. Lift music.
Sue: Keff music.
The Doctor tells Ace that they have arrived on Terra Alpha, an Earth colony with a bad reputation. But Sue is only interested in one thing:
Sue: The Doctor has very large feet for such a small man.
The dictator of this colony is a woman named Helen A.
Sue: Now she is very famous. Like, proper famous.
Me: So what’s her name, then?
Sue: **** knows. But she is very, very famous.
Me: It’s Sheila Hancock.
Sue: Of course it is. She’s very good. I bet getting her to appear in this was a bit of a coup.
In the street, the Doctor and Ace encounter a census taker named Trevor. Sue doesn’t recognise John Normington under his bowler hat, which is a shame.
The Doctor: Actually, my nickname at college was Theta Sigma.
Sue: What was the Master’s nickname? I bet it was Beardy Bastard.
The Happiness Patrol converge on the Doctor’s TARDIS.
Me: What do you make of this lot?
Sue: It looks like the Pussycat Dolls are late for band practice.
The Happiness Patrol paint the TARDIS a bright shade of pink; a subtle homage to the cover of Target’s Doctor Who and the Daleks novelisation.
Sue: If they remade this story today, this planet would be run by Katie Price.
The Doctor and Ace want to be arrested, and a member of the Happiness Patrol named Daisy K is only too happy to oblige.
Daisy K: He is obviously a spy. She is obviously his accomplice.
Sue: That’s a bit sexist. Why can’t Ace be the spy and the Doctor be her accomplice? It’s very backwards, this society.
Helen A walks in on her husband as he’s watching a Routine Disappearance video.
Me: Does Helen A remind you of anyone?
Sue: Yes. Judi Dench.
Sue: She’s like M. She just said that video was ‘for her eyes only’. She’s the head of the intelligence services. She’s M. Or in this case, A.
Me: Okay, is there anybody else she reminds you of? You know, from the eighties.
Sue: Toyah Willcox? She was still going.
Me: NO! Someone more political. A woman from the 1980s. Come on, Sue.
Sue: She’s supposed to be Thatcher. I’m not stupid, you know. And he’s supposed to be Denis. It’s pretty obvious, really, although I don’t equate Thatcher with happiness – she was a miserable bitch – so it threw me at first.
The Doctor and Ace are sent to the waiting zone, where they meet Helen A’s ex-gag writer.
Sue: Did Kate Bush write this one? It’s very weird.
Meanwhile, a man with a marvellous moustache is facing imminent death.
Joseph C: It says here that you have been found guilty of an ostentatious display of public grief. Oh dear, dear, dear.
Sue: He doesn’t look very happy about that. Why hasn’t he been shot? This isn’t very consistent, is it?
And then we cut to the Kandy Kitchen.
Sue: Oh my goodness.
Yes, it’s the Kandy Man!
Kandy Man: What time do you call this?
Sue: But… But… But it’s the Bassett Man!
Me: Bertie to his friends.
Sue: Did Bassett’s sponsor this episode of Doctor Who?
Me: No. In fact I don’t think they weren’t very happy about it.
Sue: I’m not surprised. Look at it!
The mustachioed man is drowned in strawberry fondant.
Sue: It would have been a lot less messy if they’d just shot him. Who’s going to clean that mess up? Does this mean they are cannibals on this planet? Are they going to eat him now? I don’t get this at all.
Sue looks like she’s just swallowed a jar of Marmite by accident.
Helen A tends to her pet, Fifi.
Sue: That is a very small cage for an animal that size. And is the dog supposed to be Carol?
The Doctor and Ace steal a Happiness Patrol buggy.
Sue: It’s running on a lawnmower engine. It’s pathetic.
I try to take her mind of it by asking her about Terra Alpha’s set design.
Sue: It’s quite atmospheric for a studio-based story. It looks cheap but it’s getting away with it. I wish they were outside, though. I was spoilt by Remembrance of the Daleks.
Ace is captured by the Happiness Patrol. The Doctor escapes in his buggy.
Sue: It would have been quicker to walk. Actually, it would have been quicker to hop.
Ace chats to a Happiness Patrol member who is having second thoughts about her job. And no, she doesn’t recognise Lesley Dunlop in wig.
Susan Q: I couldn’t go on smiling. Smiling while my friends disappeared, wearing this uniform and smiling and trying to pretend I’m something I’m not.
Sue: I bet putting that uniform on was the hardest bit. She looks like a member of Sigue Sigue Sputnik.
Me: Or We’ve Got A Fuzzbox and We’re Gonna Use It. Remember them?
Me: Don’t worry, I don’t think even they remember them.
The Doctor runs into Silas P.
Sue: He looks like Tony Hancock, which is weird because Tony Hancock wouldn’t have lasted five minutes on this planet.
The Happiness Patrol arrive in force.
Sue: There are theatre symbols on the front of their beach buggy. This implies that everything on the planet is one big act. That’s clever, I guess, but I’m struggling to get into it.
The Doctor is saved by a tourist named Earl.
Sue: Why would anyone want to visit this shit hole? It’s not exactly Disneyland.
The Doctor and Earl sneak into the Kandy Kitchen.
Sue: Seriously, Bassett’s must have hit the roof when they saw this. The last thing they want to have linked to their liquorice is torture.
Kandy Man: I can feel one of my moods coming on.
Sue: This is supposed to be funny, isn’t it?
The episode ends with the Doctor and Earl apprehended by the Kandy Man.
Sue: It’s not as good as Remembrance of the Daleks. But I’ve seen worse. It’s just a lot to take in.
Sue: What the hell is that?
She’s pointing at Terra Alpha’s indigenous Pipe People.
Sue: There’s too much going on in this story already without Yoda turning up.
The Kandy Man prepares to kill the Doctor and Earl.
Sue: I’m surprised that the second episode was allowed to go out. Didn’t Bertie Bassett get his lawyers on the case after the first one?
The Kandy Man is a very tactile villain.
Sue: Did he just squeeze the Doctor’s balls?
Me: No, it was just his knee.
Sue: Are you sure? I wouldn’t put anything past this programme.
The Doctor and Earl escape from the Kandy Man when the cybernetic villain accidentally sticks himself to the floor with lemonade. The Doctor departs with a carefully aimed pun:
The Doctor: Sweet dreams.
Sue: That was the best delivery of a cheesy line ever. If you go with this and embrace the madness, it’s quite entertaining.
In the waiting zone, one of the Happiness Patrol tells Ace about the type of people they hunt down and kill.
Priscilla P: The killjoys. Depressives, manic reactive indigenous.
Sue: Smiths fans, in other words.
And then Sue makes an astute observation.
Sue: I’m sure Ace has two Blue Peter badges on her jacket. How is that even possible? Nobody is that good.
The Doctor and Earl make contact with the Pipe People.
Sue: Orcs. Does this story really need orcs? It’s confusing enough as it is.
Ace escapes from the waiting zone by pushing Priscilla P over.
Sue: They are definitely wearing the wrong type of heels for a death squad. They need pink combat boots.
Helen A lets Fifi out of its cage.
Sue: Her dog reminds me of our cat, Captain Jack. That’s the look he gives to you when he’s sitting on my knee. I’m the only one who can stroke him in that special way that he likes.
Earl Sigma passes the time by playing the Blues.
Sue: He’s very good. He should do the music for the rest of the series.
A protest march appears in the street.
Sue: It’s a V for Vendetta convention.
Meanwhile, the Doctor, Earl and the Pipe People head for the pipes beneath Terra Alpha.
Sue: This looks great. That can’t have been easy to make or light. They are trying to make it as atmospheric as they can. I’m starting to come round to this story.
The Doctor finally confronts Helen A.
Sue: It’s a brilliant performance. Her head movements are so Thatcher. They were very lucky to get her. This wouldn’t have worked if they’d got Faith Brown in to do it.
The Doctor taunts Helen A as she prepares to initiate a Routine Disappearance.
Sue: I like this Doctor a lot. He’s very proactive. He likes to get stuck in.
Helen A sends Fifi into the pipes.
Sue: Fantastic moving camera, here. Very nice. I’m happy with that.
Ace takes out Fifi with some Nitro 9.
Sue: I usually get upset when they kill pets in Doctor Who, but I couldn’t give a shit about that one.
In the Kandy Kitchen, the Kandy Man’s handler, Gilbert M, is taking the piss.
Gilbert M: You’re turning into a slab of toffee. I saw this at the planning stage.
Sue: This is very funny. **** knows what Doctor Who fans must have thought of this when they saw it, but I’ve decided to go with it.
The Doctor confronts a pair of snipers on a balcony. He talks one of them out of shooting him.
Sue: I could see Matt Smith doing something like that. That was excellent.
Gilbert M and the Kandy Man are still bickering in the kitchen.
Sue: They are like an old married couple.
Me: Yeah, I can feel one of my moods coming on as well.
The Doctor blackmails the Kandy Man into diverting the fondant that has been sent to drown Ace and Susan Q. In the end, a pathetic splat of gunk falls from the pipe.
Me: That used to be Noel Edmond’s worst nightmare.
The Kandy Man isn’t very happy when the Doctor sticks him to the floor with lemonade again.
Kandy Man: Gilbert! Gilbert! Gilbert!
Sue: As far as catchphrases go, it’s not exactly “Exterminate!” is it? Funny, though.
Ace surrenders herself to the Happiness Patrol auditions at the Forum.
Sue: That bloke behind the counter is in a terrible mood. Why doesn’t anyone shoot him? It’s not very consistent.
Me: I think the point the story is trying to make is that the people in power are actually hypocrites.
Sue: Really? For a planet where everyone is supposed to be happy, no one is smiling.
Me: Yes. But surely that’s the point.
Sue: They should have said miserable dialogue with false smiles on their faces. That would have been creepier.
The episode ends with the Doctor pondering Ace’s forthcoming appearance on a lethal version of The X-Factor.
Sue: I really don’t know what to make of this. I really want to like it, but there’s something wrong with it. I’m still on the fence.
Sue is very happy today. Two of her student groups won prizes at the regional RTS Awards last night. And one of them was for a documentary about Doctor Who fans! Wherever she goes, she just can’t escape it. Bless.
Sue: I met Chris Chapman. He’s makes some of the extras for the Doctor Who DVD range. He’s a lovely bloke and he’s just made a programme for CBBC called My Life: I Am Ethan which airs at 5.45pm this Tuesday (tomorrow). It’s got Doctor Who references in it, so tell the readers to watch it.
Me: Consider it done.
Meanwhile, on Terra Alpha, Helen A tends to her injured pet.
Sue: The mechanics are very good but it looks fake. Turn down the lights!
Helen A gives Fifi some instructions.
Helen A: You take the vermin in the pipes, I’ll take the vermin in the Forum.
Sue: The what?
Me: Forum. Dangerous places, forums. Especially Doctor Who ones.
Priscilla P desperately wants to execute a killjoy.
Sue: She reminds me of someone.
Me: Wendy James from Transvision Vamp?
Sue: I met her once. She had green teeth.
The Doctor croons.
Sue: It’s a brave attempt but Sylvester McCoy can’t sing. He won’t go through to Boot Camp sounding like that.
Helen A sends Fifi back into the pipes again.
Sue: Is that her private commode?
The Doctor instigates an outbreak of happiness in the square.
Sue: Finally. Happy people in a programme about a happy planet. It’s only taken them three episodes.
The Happiness Patrol are very unhappy about this turn of events and they are forced to turn on themselves.
Sue: Okay, right. I get it now. It should end like Reservoir Dogs. They are all unhappy so they should shoot each other.
Me: They can all be Ms. Pink.
Priscilla P guards Daisy K in the waiting zone.
Sue: Daisy is definitely famous.
Me: To me, Georgina Hale will always be the woman John McVicar has breakfast with when he escapes from prison. She’s wearing nothing but an apron. It’s a formative memory that I just can’t shift.
Sue: I wonder why.
Meanwhile, down in the pipes.
Sue: I still don’t understand what these orcs have to do with anything.
The sound of Fifi howling echoes down the pipes.
Sue: Is Fifi really that much of a threat? You could just kick it down the pipe.
Helen A: We’ll leave Fifi to deal with him.
Sue: It’s a ****ing poodle!
But when Sue sees Fifi in the pipes.
Sue: If they had lit it like this from the word go, I could have taken it more seriously.
The animal is crushed by falling sugar.
Sue: I should feel sorry for it – it’s not its fault – but I hate Paris Hilton dogs. I’m sorry, but it deserved that.
The phone is ringing in the Kandy Kitchen. The Kandy Man takes the call.
Kandy Man: Kandy Man.
Sue: That is so funny. This shouldn’t work but the person playing the Kandy Man is really selling it to me. It’s his voice and attitude that makes it real. It should be a disaster but it works.
Ace threatens the Kandy Man with a red-hot poker.
Sue: Stick him in his liquorice hole. It’s basically a target, anyway.
The Kandy Man escapes into the pipes.
Sue: I hope he gets his just desserts. Ha! Do you get it?
The Pipe People invade the Kandy Kitchen.
Sue: It’s very elaborate for a kitchen. I bet the Kandy Man loves a good game of Mousetrap.
The Kandy Man is killed by his own confectionery.
Sue: Aww. I really liked him. What a shame.
Helen attempts to flee the planet but Gilbert M and Joseph C have beaten her to it.
Sue: They are so gay. Still, if I were a man on this planet, I’d be gay as well.
Helen A makes a run for it.
Sue: It’s very film noir, this.
Me: There’s a rumour that they were going to show some of this in black and white but they didn’t have the guts to go through with it.
Sue: Is it too late to turn the colour down on our TV? I bet it would have looked great.
The Doctor confronts Helen A.
Helen A: I’ll go somewhere else. I’ll find somewhere where there is no sadness. A place where people know how to enjoy themselves.
But when Helen A sees Fifi dying next to a manhole cover.
Sue: Awww, she really did love her pet, didn’t she. This is so sad. This is the saddest ending in Doctor Who ever.
Yeah, the death of Fifi is much worse than loads of Silurians getting wiped out. It’s official.
Sue: It’s very good, this. I get it completely now. That was quite profound.
Sue: I really enjoyed that, especially the last episode. I wasn’t sure at first but it won me over in the end. It wasn’t perfect but it was consistently entertaining and the guest cast were excellent. The Kandy Man was the best thing in it, though.