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  • Doctor Who: The Happiness Patrol [VHS] [1988]
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Doctor Who: The Happiness Patrol [VHS] [1988]


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Product details

  • Actors: Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred, Sheila Hancock, Ronald Fraser, David John Pope
  • Directors: Chris Clough
  • Producers: John Nathan-Turner
  • Format: Colour, Full Screen, HiFi Sound
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: BBC
  • VHS Release Date: 4 Aug. 1997
  • Run Time: 74 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CUO7
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 137,397 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

The Doctor and Ace arrive on Earth colony Terra Alpha, ruled by Helen A. The population of the colony are forbidden to display signs of unhappiness by the Happiness Patrol - dissenters are boiled in candy. The enforcer of Helen A's policy is the Kandyman, who bears a striking resemblance to Bertie Bassett.

From the Back Cover

The Doctor has heard stories of strange sinister goings-on on the Earth colony of Terra Alpha. Citizens have disappeared without trace, and strange creatures lurk in the pipes and sewers under the capital city. Believing it is high time someone got to the bottom of the mystery, the Doctor declares to his young companion Ace that tonight will be the night...

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By "scribeoflight" on 6 Mar. 2003
Watching 'The Happiness Patrol' now, almost 15 years after it was originally broadcast, what stands out is the cleverness of it all. The evidence indicates that a lot of work, on several levels, went into constructing a story often accused of being poorly made and tacky. It may have had a low budget, but it doesn't suffer from it; and any 'tackiness' is clearly ironic, working within the context of the narrative. There are occasional moments when a detail of the production makes you wonder if they couldn't have thought things through a bit more, and occasionally the editing is over-zealous, cutting a scene a little too short, and lessening the effect of a punchine or a dramatic speech. But these are minor problems, and they do little to spoil the enjoyment of a thoroughly ambitious and engaging Doctor Who serial.
Sylvester McCoy is on top form, and the Doctor has too many good lines to list; one glorious moment sees him turning the questions back on the questioner, Trevor Sigma, while another is his confronation with two guards (a classic Who moment). There are two lapses: the first, at the end of episode one, where McCoy really doesn't manage pull off a plausible reaction to the Kandy Man's threat; and the second, a moment where he tries to sing the blues, and just looks silly. The latter, however, is saved by the context of the scene, where atmospheric and subtle support is given by Richard D. Sharp, playing Earl Sigma, a wandering medical student, who happens to be an ace player of the blues harmonica.
The score of 'The Happiness Patrol' is, of course, one its very best traits. Layered on top of the usual incidental music is a carefully judged combination of blues guitar and harmonica playing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 Sept. 2000
Apparently, this story was originally to be shown in grainy black and white, in the style of a 1930's movie. As it is, it was recorded entirely on video. This gaudy and overlit tale actually benefits because of this. The almost surreal nature of the production has an almost dream-like quality, with Graeme Curry's clever story parodying Britain in the mid-eighties. The 'guest-star' policy works well in this story, with good turns from Lesley Dunlop, Georgina Hale and Ronald Fraser. The star of the show is the magnificent Candyman, an outrageous creation that alternates between being hilarious, and on occasions, truly menacing. With strong performances from Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred, this 'oddball' story proves what a flexible format Doctor Who has always enjoyed, a fact successfully exploited by then-script editor Andrew Cartmel. Only McCoy's forced 'laughter' scene towards the end of the story induces feelings of embarrassment. Surely this could have been handled more convincingly. That notwithstanding, 'Happiness Patrol' is wonderful fun, and the last scene with Helen A's very real emotion on seeing her dead pet Fifi is truly moving.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Captain Pugwash on 5 May 2009
Verified Purchase
It's interesting to see how these 80s Doctor Who serials have polarised the opinions of fans since they were released on VHS/DVD and subsequently re-evaluated. I actually struggle with this one as it really does have the pantomime feel that the show was (usually) unfairly labelled with from 1980 onwards. There is no way one can defend the risible 'Kandyman' - particularly his ridiculous voice - and the makeup is so over the top it just looks silly.
There are some good moments; the Pipe People are classic DW oppressed peoples but are not really explained properly or given enough to do, whilst Ronald Fraser and Harold Innocent provide a great moment as they elope in an escape shuttle at the end.
Criticising this story is like shooting fish in a barrel, but we fans are duty-bound to find some good in every show - and it's far far better than 'Time and the Rani', in my opinion the series' true nadir.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
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Watching 'The Happiness Patrol' now, almost 15 years after it was originally broadcast, what stands out is the cleverness of it all. The evidence indicates that a lot of work, on several levels, went into constructing a story often accused of being poorly made and tacky. It may have had a low budget, but it doesn't suffer from it; and any 'tackiness' is clearly ironic, working within the context of the narrative. There are occasional moments when a detail of the production makes you wonder if they couldn't have thought things through a bit more, and occasionally the editing is over-zealous, cutting a scene a little too short, and lessening the effect of a punchline or a dramatic speech. But these are minor problems, and they do little to spoil the enjoyment of a thoroughly ambitious and engaging Doctor Who serial.
Sylvester McCoy is on top form, and the Doctor has too many good lines to list; one glorious moment sees him turning the questions back on the questioner, Trevor Sigma, while another is his confronation with two guards (a classic Who moment). There are two lapses: the first, at the end of episode one, where McCoy really doesn't manage pull off a plausible reaction to the Kandy Man's threat; and the second, a moment where he tries to sing the blues, and just looks silly. The latter, however, is saved by the context of the scene, where atmospheric and subtle support is given by Richard D. Sharp, playing Earl Sigma, a wandering medical student, who happens to be an ace player of the blues harmonica.
The score of 'The Happiness Patrol' is, of course, one its very best traits. Layered on top of the usual incidental music is a carefully judged combination of blues guitar and harmonica playing.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

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