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Doctor Who: The Happiness Patrol (Story 153) (2012)

Sylvester McCoy , Sophie Aldred , Chris Clough  |  NR |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred, Georgina Hale, David John Pope
  • Directors: Chris Clough
  • Writers: Graeme Curry
  • Producers: John Nathan-Turner
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 8, 2012
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B007AAF1FW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,366 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Editorial Reviews

Doctor Who: Happiness Patrol, The

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cool serial, nice DVD package May 7, 2012
"The Happiness Patrol" comes from an unpopular and often-neglected era of Doctor Who -- the end of the original series, when ratings were poor and internal BBC support for the show was practically nonexistent. But in spite of all that, this is a pretty cool serial that deserves a charitable reassessment.

The basic premise is that the Doctor and his companion Ace arrive on a planet where sadness has been banned, and is punishable by death. The planet is ruled by the insane dictator Helen A, who is an obvious parody of Margaret Thatcher. (Amusingly, British journalists didn't notice the Thatcher parallel until 2010, when "The Happiness Patrol" was exhumed and re-examined by the media, and became briefly controversial.) Helen A's chief henchman is a robot, made of candy, who kills dissidents by drowning them in syrup.

Does all this sound a bit grotesque, perhaps even ridiculous? Well, it is ridiculous, of course. But for those who agree with the left-wing politics of this serial, and can enjoy its peculiar brand of dark humor, there is much to appreciate here. Indeed, I quite like the gutsy social commentary in the script, and I think it's still very relevant. Meanwhile, some of the serial's perceived weaknesses -- false-looking sets, over-the-top acting, and a general campy atmosphere -- become more acceptable, and perhaps even appropriate, when you view them through the lens of political satire.

As for the DVD itself, it's one of the best single-disc Doctor Who editions to come along in a while. It includes a making-of special that intelligently examines the serial's politics and production strengths/weaknesses, as well as an extensive collection of extended and deleted scenes (the highlight of which is a much better introduction scene for the character Susan Q).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Jacob
In the Sylvester McCoy era of Doctor Who epsidoe entitled "The Happiness Patrol" The Doctor and Ace have come to the colony of Terra Alpha a colony set in the early days of the Earth great expnasion into the stars. What the Doctor doesn't know is the leader a woman known as Helen A has institued a no saddness policy within the colony. Anyone not smiling or even being happy is sentenced to death. With her all female sqauds known as the "Happiness Patrols" they enforce her rules on the colony. However force of arms is not the only thing at her disposal she also has her candy kitchen and within is the being called "The Candy Man" a being who loves to make sweets. Sweets that kill that is and of course when all else fails Helen A has her faithful pet Fifi a creature that only Helen A could love.
Meanwhile on the planet itself the Doctor encounters Trevor Sigma a Terrian census taker is on the colony to see the numbers of those on the planet are kept up and also to ensure that proceduers are kept up to regulation. A visting medical student who enjoys the harmonica and is trapped on Terra Alpha until he can find a way to escape and get back to Earth. Ace also meets a young happiness patrol memebr who wants nothing more then to be sad, but fears what would happen if the rest of her sqaud ever finds out the truth. Also strange beings seem to be watching from the shadows and seem to be waiting for something to happen.
Can the Doctor stop Helen A, her spies, the happiness patrols, The Candy Man and even Fifi and try to sort out the colony so no one has to keep smiling forever? Or will those that are on Terra Alpha live in the grip of fear if they show anything but happiness? So check out "The Happiness Patrol" to find out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality writing will prevail. January 24, 2013
Having fallen in love with the Seventh Doctor during Remembrance of the Daleks, I got his next story, and it's another excellent episode. It's very strange too; if it weren't for all the bright colors, I could've sworn that Tim Burton had worked on this one. Still, this has some memorable characters like the Kandy Man, Helen A, and my favorite the blues player Earl (SPOILER I can't tell you how glad I am he didn't die); awesome moments (the Doctor overthrowing a regime in one night is already cool, but with scenes like him talking the sniper into dropping his gun and tricking a Happiness Patrol squad into being arrested, this is just gold), and great music, this is one of the more memorable Doctor Who adventures.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Happiness Patrol is an OK serial, I haven't seen so many classic Doctor Who stories in years and years but because
of the 50th Anniversary I am making up for lost time and collecting my fav episodes and also renting them from my local library system to see if my memory jives with the story...
Everyone seems to think The Happiness Patrol was one of the best Sylvester McCoy stories, but having just watched it last night
it's not the story that is worth getting the DVD for it's the Extras, in particular the documentary about how political and anti-establishment Doctor Who really has been all this time. The writers were ingenious because instead of blatant stories about racism or class structure that Star Trek was famous for they were just trying to tell a good story and often enough political views and social commentary made its way into the fabric of the story. The Happiness Patrol is one of those more overt and as the then head writer notes it wasn't just about Thatcher who was Prim Minister then, it was also about what was going on in South Africa and raids on townships and the "disappearances" of non conformists. It's an intriguing episode, but if you get it really, seriously watch the documentary first or last, but do watch it because that's what makes this DVD worth the money!

Other than that I do admit that this is a great episode featuring Ace, Sophie Aldred. It showcases her acting talents nicely and seems to me more about her than the Doctor here. Also, as it's been said the Kandy Man... that's K A N D Y not Candy Man is probably one of the best monsters DW ever had had.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best McCoy episodes
You will not be disappointed with such great scripts, a believable monster and the brilliant Seventh Doctor... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Gabriel Armstrong
3.0 out of 5 stars Another frustrating story from Sylvester McCoy era
I struggled with the rating for this. The DVD is up to the standards of the usual Doctor Who offerings, and the included extras were interesting. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, Creepy and Excellent!
This specific Doctor Who story was produced at a very difficult time for the show. The years in between the 1985 hiatus in the sixth doctor era to the cancellation of the show at... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Fuzzy Tomato
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the Best Seventh Doctor Story
Aside from all the no-longer relevant political speculation, I found that I actually liked the portrayal of the character of Hellen A. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Keitheaux
5.0 out of 5 stars Another fun installment!
Sylvester McCoy is one of my favorite Doctors, and I've almost finished collecting his entire series as the intrepid Time Lord.
Published 13 months ago by Mackie
5.0 out of 5 stars Ah for the days of Classic Who!
In which Seven was amazing, Ace was wicked, and the show could do a very clever satire on the UK under Margaret Thatcher's rule and pull it off. Read more
Published 15 months ago by M. Ruble
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
I enjoyed this episode of Dr. Who. It was fun to watch the old-time doctors at work. Fun to watch.
Published 18 months ago by Robert Mixdorf
Another great addition to my Doctor Who collection!

A must have for any Whovian!
Published 19 months ago by hondo101
1.0 out of 5 stars Doctor Rue
Stick the two words Doctor Who in front of any title of this show and the rabid fans, will all say this is brilliant! better then Shakespeare. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Cliff Hanger
5.0 out of 5 stars The happiness Patrol
The seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy is as mysterious and innovative as ever within this episode. Lots of action and good times.
Published 23 months ago by Ja
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