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All You Never Wanted To Know About The Happiness Patrol

Totally Unprovoked Speculations on the Real Nature of Terra Alpha

By Craig Young

Have you ever suspected that the plot of The Happiness Patrol was somehow linked to the Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy universe, and that it's presence in Doctor Who is merely a horrible accident. Or do you think it's such a load of old cobblers that no-one really cares?

Because I'm a sadist at heart, I have done the necessary detective work. Here, at last, we can find a clue to how Terra Alpha slipped universes and ended up in the universe of our television programme. The story begins on the planet Magrathea. In the Hitch-Hikers universe, this world constructed the Earth in order to find the Ultimate Question about life, the universe and everything (the answer is 42). What was not disclosed in the Hitch-Hikers narrative was the number of cock-up failed experimental models were produced before the right one was created. This one was abnormally difficult to ferret out of Magrathea's PR security vaults but there were quite a few. All these had the designation Terra, and an alphabetic sur-number. Terra Alpha was one of these.

The notes about the early evolutionary sequence on Terra Alpha make horrifying reading. The most ghastly aspect of all this involves the long-theorised connection between the abysmal aesthetic tastes of Terra Alpha and the Sixth Doctor's lurid polychromatic coat. We can now confirm that sometime in his third incarnation, the much more stylish Doctor encountered this on a future earth boutique and decided to save the cosmos from this sort of drunken designers nightmare, storing it in his wardrobe (where a future Doctor of much less taste would find it).

Early human life on Terra Alpha wore (do not read while eating...) platform shoes and flares. It practised human sacrifice to the Great God Rerrin, a barbaric practice (moral and musical) which led to a number of problems on their planet, which would periodically be raided by hordes of rampaging critics intent on keeping artistic taste in the galaxy by destroying its most blatant contravention.

None of this worked, as the invading armies of critics would soon be overwhelmed by the sheer lack of any redeeming stylistic features in their surroundings, and these raids seriously destabilised the planet and contributed to the rise of the political system we know as 'smiley fascism'. Meanwhile, an experiment that was trying to produce primordial molecules had its data accidentally cross-matched with a new form of confectionery with narcotics designed to control the planets minority group, the Morose Pride Movement or 'Glums'. The result was a bad tempered mass of sentient glucose that became the planets chief torturer, the Kandyman. Sadistic use of confectionery, especially the Fondant Surprise, as a means of execution, was seen to increase as Helen A and her Happiness Patrol swept to power.

Now as for the Morose Pride Movement, you have probably guessed that the idea of glum liberation has certain connections to a paranoid android of Sirius Cybernetics Corporation manufacture. Due to the typical patterns of Time/Space disturbance present in the Hitch-Hikers universe, Marvin the Messiah arrived one day on this planet and taught those of similar emotional disposition to respect themselves and strive for survival in a world where anything less than hideous saccharin smiles was punished severely.

Ferretoids were part of the planets remaining ecology, endangered due to the vast proliferation of euphoriant 'upper' pharmaceuticals pumped into the planet's biosphere. One of them became attached to Helen A; telepaths would swear that it had a fixation with the Doctor's trousers, convinced that it would find one of its own kind up the Time Lord's trousers.

The discovery of space travel is attributed to the Kandyman, who is recorded as having encountered an exploratory group of aliens from the planet Transsexual in the galaxy Transylvania. Their names translate as Count Frank N. Furter, Riffraff and Magenta. Janet and Brad Majors, natives of the urban area Denton USA, swear that the Count apologised for the behaviour of his underling Riffraff through acquaintance with the early mentioned mass of sentient glucose.

The brief analysis of Terran Alphan history aside, how do we account for its presence in the wrong universe. The answer is that The Happiness Patrol isn't really a Doctor Who serial at all. The Doctor has been framed and this whole sequence is probably the work of a sinister alien of unimaginable and vindictive power - Michael Grade, the Valeyard, Mary Whitehouse and other sinister forces spring to mind.

All Doctor Who fans should therefore ignore this and forget it - in other words, do what they've been doing since we first heard of the show.

Finally, it is rumoured that a consortium of liquorice all-sort companies is planning to attack the serial in question as defamatory to innocent confectionery unable to defend itself. It could only happen in reality!!!

This item appeared in TSV 14 (July 1989).

Index nodes: The Happiness Patrol