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The Kandy Man Serial 7L:
The Happiness Patrol

Working Title: The Crooked Smile.

Starring: Sylvester McCoy (The Seventh Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace).

Terra Alpha is under the steel fist of Helen A and her executioner, a sadistic robot made out of sweets called the Kandy Man. Joy is perpetual on Terra Alpha, because to be unhappy invites the wrath of Helen A's crack police force, the Happiness Patrol. Allying themselves with Terra Alpha's repressed natives, the Pipe People, a former Happiness Patrolwoman named Susan Q and blues player Earl Sigma, the Doctor and Ace must end Helen A's reign of terror.

After placing first in a London-area scriptwriting competition with his football (soccer) story Over The Moon, Graeme Curry was advised by Tony Dinner of the BBC Script Unit to send his prizewinner to various script editors. One of these was Doctor Who's Andrew Cartmel, who met with Curry in February 1987 and invited him to pitch ideas for his programme's twenty-fifth season. Unfortunately, Curry's efforts to develop something feasible met with little success for months, until in the summer he suggested setting an adventure on a planet where unhappy people were persecuted. Cartmel liked the idea and together the pair developed it, expanding it into both a commentary on modern-day superficiality and the policies of Margaret Thatcher's reigning Conservative government -- the latter being especially obvious in the character of Curry's dictator, Helen A.

Curry briefly titled his story The Happiness Patrol, but this was changed to The Crooked Smile by the time episode one was commissioned on September 3rd. A month or so later, producer John Nathan-Turner asked that the title revert to The Happiness Patrol. In the course of scripting the adventure, Curry -- with Cartmel's agreement -- decided to tone down the anti-Thatcher elements. He also curtailed the scope of the piece, which originally spanned several weeks. To compensate for the fact that all the action now took place over a single night, Curry decided to have Helen A's regime already crumbling at the start of the adventure. Other changes included the removal of a prison area called Arcadia, complete with dozens of fruit machines and an elaborate go-kart game; this was replaced with the far simpler Waiting Zone. In the Forum, the Doctor and Ace were originally forced to entertain their audience or be executed; this was felt to be too similar to elements of another Season Twenty-Five adventure, The Greatest Show In The Galaxy, and so was excised. Initially, Ace tricked Susan Q into helping escape instead of Susan doing so willingly. Another early idea was to have muzak playing throughout the serial; this was replaced with a blues-type theme because of fears of aggravating viewers. Earl Sigma's instrument was changed from a trumpet to a harmonica, while the snipers were renamed David S and Alex S, from Stan S and Sid S, though these were never mentioned onscreen.

The director assigned to Serial 7L was Chris Clough. As with the previous year, the final six episodes of Season Twenty-Five comprised a three-part location-only story (Silver Nemesis) and a three-part studio-only story (The Happiness Patrol). Clough had helmed their Season Twenty-Four counterparts (Delta And The Bannermen and Dragonfire, respectively) and was brought back to handle the reins again. It was Clough and Nathan-Turner who decided to completely reinvent the visual look of the Kandy Man. In Curry's scripts, the Kandy Man was basically human in appearance -- the fact that he was made out of sweets was rather subtle. Clough and Nathan-Turner wanted the Kandy Man to be much more obviously robotic, and so make-up designer Dorka Nieradzik -- using Michelin Tires' seminal Michelin Man icon as a basis -- put together an outfit which looked as though it were literally made of giant candies.

Recording on The Happiness Patrol began with the start of a three-day session on July 26th, 1988. Clough found the studio-bound "exteriors" cumbersome to work in, severely limiting his ability to plan interesting camera angles. To compensate, he wanted to give the adventure a film noir feel by using various off-kilter perspectives, as was done in the 1949 Orson Welles movie The Third Man. This idea was vetoed by Nathan-Turner, who felt the technique would be too disorienting. For the Pipe People, it was thought for a time that they might be achieved using puppets; eventually, however, the decision was made to employ eight child actors in costume. Conversely, Fifi was actually several different puppets. The idea of hiring an actor to play the creature was dismissed because Nathan-Turner wanted Fifi to be comparatively small.

The production of The Happiness Patrol and Season Twenty-Five as a whole concluded with a two-day block starting on August 10th. In post-production, all three episodes were found to overrun severely, and a number of cuts were made. These included a scene where the Kandy Man slices off his own finger only to calmly reattach it in part one; Susan Q revealing that she was demoted from Susan L because of a smuggled blue record; the Doctor escaping at the start of part two only to return when he realises that Earl Sigma has been captured; and the Kandy Man's actual death scene in part three, the execution of which had left Clough dissatisfied. The Happiness Patrol was Curry's only contribution to Doctor Who, and also Clough's last story. Feeling that he had little more to offer the programme, Clough went on to work on shows such as The Bill (for which Curry also wrote) and Casualty.

Season Twenty-Five was originally scheduled to debut on September 7th, with the stories to run in transmission order, with The Happiness Patrol in the fourth and final slot. However, the BBC's broadcast of the Seoul Olympics pushed back the start of the season until October 5th. Because Nathan-Turner still wanted to begin the year with Remembrance Of The Daleks and have the twenty-fifth anniversary serial, Silver Nemesis, begin on November 23rd (the actual date of the anniversary), this left only three weeks in between the two adventures. As a result, The Happiness Patrol was moved up into this gap, swapped with the four-part The Greatest Show In The Galaxy. On November 10th, after episode two was aired, HB Stokes, chairman and chief executive of Bassett Foods plc, wrote to Nathan-Turner to complain that the Kandy Man infringed on the trademark of his company's advertising icon, Bertie Bassett. After investigating the matter, Brian Turner of the BBC Copyright Department informed Stokes on November 25th that he had determined that no transgressions had occurred -- although he did promise that the Kandy Man would not be used again in future storylines.

Original Transmission Details
Episode Date Time Duration Viewers Audience App.
1 2nd November 1988 7.35pm 24'51" 5.3m (96th) 67%
2 9th November 1988 7.35pm 24'48" 4.6m (104th) 65%
3 16th November 1988 7.35pm 24'25" 5.3m (88th) 65%

Principal Crew
Producer John Nathan-Turner
Script Editor Andrew Cartmel
Writer Graeme Curry
Director Chris Clough
Designer John Asbridge
Costume Richard Croft
Incidental Music Dominic Glynn

Principal Guest Cast: Rachel Bell (Priscilla P), Lesley Dunlop (Susan Q), Ronald Fraser (Joseph C), Georgina Hale (Daisy K), Sheila Hancock (Helen A), Harold Innocent (Gilbert M), John Normington (Trevor Sigma), David John Pope (Kandy Man), Richard D Sharp (Earl Sigma).

Novelisation: The Happiness Patrol by Graeme Curry (book 146), February 1990; cover by Alister Pearson.

Video Release: The Happiness Patrol, episodic format, August 1997; PAL (BBC Video cat.# 5803) and NTSC (Warners cat.# E1081); photomontage cover augmented by a painting of the Kandy Man by Colin Howard.

Rankings: 103rd (61.78%, Doctor Who Dynamic Rankings website, 22nd June 1999); 116th (60.88%, DWM 1997 Annual Survey).


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