Doctor Who: The Happiness Patrol (parts one and two)

I had the silly idea to distract from the astonishing first appearance of the Kandyman in tonight’s story – more about him next time – by telling our son that there was a dog in this serial. A mean dog. Well, sort of a dog. He’s called Fifi and he’s owned by an even meaner woman, a despot called Helen A who talks a lot like Margaret T and acts a lot like Pinochet. Helen A is played by Sheila Hancock and it’s a terrific performance. It’s possibly not quite as devilish as Spitting Image was to Thatcher, but it’s devilish, all right. Some time after Doctor Who became popular again, there was a newspaper story about how this one time in the late eighties, this show was being… gasp! political! Took them long enough to notice.

But no, the Kandyman quite naturally stole the show from Fifi. Our son responded with a face of utter astonishment and even after it resolved into smug satisfaction because he “knew it was a robot,” he was amused and amazed and had a lot to say. He complained that Fifi didn’t do very much, and I assured him that we’d see more of Fifi tomorrow night, and that we’ll see the Kandyman answer the phone. “What’s he going to do,” our son asked, and I’ll grant you this very next bit is a very odd thing to say, “take his arm off and scream ‘Gilbert! I’m stuck in the lemonade again!’ or something?” Then he wondered whether the Kandyman would win a fight with a lemonade stand, and for the next two minutes, he bellowed “Gilbert!”

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