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Customer Review

52 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Happiness will prevail !, 2 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: Doctor Who: Ace Adventures - Dragonfire / The Happiness Patrol [DVD] [1987] (DVD)
It's 25 years since these stories appeared on television, and it certainly seems a long time ago since I used to sit in front of the television waiting for 'Wogan' to finish so i could press play/record on the video and tape each episode religiously each week. I know that some 'fans' class these as poor episodes, and that the McCoy era comes in for some stick. but for me they're both part of why I fell in love with Doctor Who in the first place.....and not just for the amazing and gorgeous Sophie Aldred! You'll be able to read plot lines,etc elsewhere (and anyone reading this probably knows the stories quite well anyway). Both of the stories were fairly controversial at the time. The end of Kane - the villain in Dragonfire, not the WWE superstar (though that WOULD have been good) meets a particularly gruesome end (think of the Nazis dying in Raiders of the Lost Ark) and it was deemed too scary for children. The villain in Happiness patrol is the fabulous Kandyman who was criticised for being an evil version of Bertie Bassett! Probably true, but for me Kandyman is one of the greatest, creepiest and overlooked villains in Who-history. The melancholic mouth organ music matches the tone and the guests stars look like they're having a great time. It's maybe nostalgia that makes me give these stories 5 stars, probably Dragonfire deserves 3 but I couldn't mark Happiness Patrol down. Rumours are that Greatest Show in the Galaxy will be out before next year too so I can't wait to head back to Segonax soon! Happy memories, and remember, all those who give it one star (which somebody will) that happiness will prevail.
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Tracked by 5 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 16 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 19 Feb 2012 18:38:10 GMT
Sorry I just think both these stories are not that great Dragonfire has possibly the worst cliffhanger in Dr Who history, and although it is great to see the back of Mel and the introduction of Ace one of JNT's better decisions, the story is not one of the best. As for happiness Patrol, I agree with Verity Lambert Dr Who's first producer, unbelievable, at times embarrassing and very childish, but McCoy's second season had better offerings, and his final was much better than these two offering, sorry to disagree i think it was your five star rating that made add a comment as I think neither are worth that but that's your opinion and it would be boring if we all liked the same.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Feb 2012 21:19:19 GMT
No worries. As I put in my review I know these stories are not universally loved, but i'm very nostalgic about the McCoy era as that was my first real taste of Who and therefore he is 'MY' Doctor. I did put Dragonfire as a 3 star, but I really love Happiness Patrol, and, again, knowing most people laugh at it - i do find the Kandyman to be a great villain. I agree with you that McCoy improved (I don't rate Time and the Rani or Delta and the Bannermen). I love all of the old stories except a couple of late 70s ones but i'm prepared for the backlash with my ratings. Thanks for your thoughts.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Feb 2012 02:00:16 GMT
Last edited by the author on 23 Feb 2012 02:00:39 GMT
cheers, so glad you appear to think the same with McCoy i never believed he got a fair crack at playing the part, and he was getting better and better as were the stories, and then they cancelled it, Mind you i will still buy this set.

Posted on 29 Feb 2012 12:51:08 GMT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Feb 2012 21:13:21 GMT
Does it sound sarcastic? I don't understand why I'm not allowed to like these stories - this is MY era of Who, the 3 years of McCoy are the reason I now enjoy nearly 50 years of Doctor Who. When Survival finished I started to buy the videos and discovered the past. McCoy was the Doctor for most of the 90s too thanks to the New Adventures books, and is still going strong today thanks to Big Finish productions, generally alongside Sophie Aldred in what is, for me, a partnership as strong in the series as Tom Baker and Lis Sladen, Pertwee and Katy Manning, Troughton and Fraser Hines and, dare I say it, matt Smith and Karen Gillan! I've put in my review that I know it's not to everyone's taste, but I loved the Happiness patrol - I still watch it today with the same enjoyment I had as a 12 year old in 1988. As I put above too, i'm prepared for some negative comments but I stand by my opinions.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Mar 2012 11:50:25 GMT
I concur Matthew...I fell in love with Dr Who when I was a 6 year old child religiously watching McCoy every week. Not a massive fan of Dargonfire myself, however a big fan of McCoy in general. I even really like Paradise Towers, making me a minority I suppose! And you're right, some of the Big Finish McCoy stuff is absolutely amazing... I, for one, will be buying these when they come out...

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Mar 2012 15:34:26 GMT
Thanks for the comments, yes I love Paradise Towers too - I think it fits nicely alongside Greatest Show and Happiness Patrol. It's only really Time and the Rani that I find bad amongst the McCoy stories. Paradise Towers I think actually improves with age!

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Mar 2012 21:12:26 BDT
Last edited by the author on 25 Mar 2012 21:14:56 BDT
McCoy was also my main childhood doctor, Although I recall catching the tail end of the Colin Baker era. I remeber-very well- watching Dragon fire and Happieness patrol on TV. I bought them as soon as they were availabe on VHS and am very much looking foward to buying them on DVD- with special features in tow. I also consider Happienss Patrol to be some what under-rated. I think that's prabably because it uses a style of story telling which you have to kind of be on the right wavelength to really understand -otherwise it will just seem stupid and ridiculous. However, in my opinion it is quite a layered and clever story- exploring some of the daker elements of the human psyche and emotion- like insanity and depression. The Kandyman was never intended to appear sensible- he is meant to represent absoloute insanity. The moral of the whole story is well summarised by the doctor when he describes happieness and sadness as being 2 sides of the same coin. For me... the most clever detail to this story is that the villainess 'Helen A' spends all her time trying to enforce crazy rules & punish people for beig sad, when she herself is ultimately a deeply unhappy character. I've always found that scene where she eventually collapses in tears to be quite powerful. In all a great, although often misunderstood doctor who adventure.... Well that's my opinion anyway!

Posted on 27 Mar 2012 03:43:46 BDT
Zee Jai says:
Good positive comments on The Happiness Patrol, thank you.

Someone, elsewhere, points out that "grumpy old fans" hate this story. That's due in large part to their belief that the Kandyman - a brilliant piece of costume design and an excellent performance - is "an evil Bertie Bassett". Nothing in the narrative suggests he is that, but fans love to cling to their tired preconceptions and predictable prejudices.

Seasons 25 & 26 of Doctor Who were some of its best - fresh, innovative and exciting - and as far from the (admittedly well done) Hammer Horror pastiche of the Hinchcliffe years as could be.

Fans hating The Happiness Patrol is the best seal of quality it could get.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Apr 2012 14:35:44 BDT
PRTM says:
I agree that The Happiness Patrol is underrated and those negative fans who criticise it for its cheap effects and "silly" villains are just looking at it on a superficial level. This story was the most allegorical story in classic Who, being as it was a scathing critique of Thatcherism and how shallow yuppie Britain was at the time, as well as having all those points that you describe. Dragonfire is not so good. It's a so-so story that looks absolutely awful - it did back in 1987. Both of these productions are horribly studiobound but The Happiness Patrol overcomes that with the better story and characters. I've always liked the Kandyman as a villain, in fact I think we don't see enough of him in the story. He's both scary and, yes, silly too but also hilarious for the adults watching. I love it when he answers the phone with "Kandyman". Anyway, this is a much more intelligent story than people give it credit for. Dragonfire, on the other hand, is one of the less successful McCoy stories from the frankly forgettable 24th series.
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