That is the motto uttered several times by the titular group in the 1988 Doctor Who story, “The Happiness Patrol”. It is a story set on a future Earth colony where sadness is outlawed, and those caught unhappy are executed. Methods of execution vary but are sometimes via a robot made out of licorice all-sorts.
I was reminded of “The Happiness Patrol” early on while watching the latest Doctor Who episode, “Smile” by Frank Cottrell-Boyce. Truth be told, beyond the mandatory happiness and death-by-robot, the two stories are actually quite different, and I don’t want to sound like I’m accusing the more recent story of copying the earlier one. That said, there is another way in which they are similar: They are both reasonably entertaining, yet flawed, stories.
“Smile” starts out strongly enough. It does a good job of setting the scene, and there is a lot of great interaction between the Doctor and Bill. There are some wonderful visuals and the episode maintains a suitable atmosphere that is a mix of both creepiness and wonder. However, the resolution appears and is gone in the space of mere moments. It’s almost as though the story spends so much effort on the set-up that it forgets it needs to reach a conclusion until its 45-minute duration is almost up, and so just tacks on something last moment. It doesn’t help that, apart from the Doctor and Bill, the characters are one-dimensional and entirely unsympathetic.
“Smile” is Frank Cottrell-Boyce’s second script for Doctor Who. His first was “In the Forest of the Night” from Series 8, an episode that I never got round to reviewing; however, in summary, my opinion of that story is, I didn’t like it. “Smile” is certainly a significant improvement on Cottrell-Boyce’s earlier story. However, its rushed ending leaves me with a sense of disappointment after such a good start.