The Secret Policeman's Balls

BBC Premiered Jan 01, 2004 Unknown


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Episode Guide

  • Season 2
    • The Secret Policeman's Other Ball (1981)
      The 1979 Secret Policeman's Ball show had yielded a successful film and two albums (of comedy and music), and the same production team banded together in September 1981 for an even more triumphant four-night reprise at London's Theatre Royal. Once more John Cleese lined up most of the comedic talents - the by-now usual mixture of "Oxbridge" stalwarts and promising newcomers. Martin Lewis parlayed the success of Pete Townshend's 1979 appearance to recruit more musicians to the Amnesty cause: Sting, Phil Collins, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Donovan - and, most fortuitously, Bob Geldof, who made his first-ever benefit appearance at the 1981 show. The concept of entertainers banding together for a good cause apparently left an impression on him.moreless
    • The Secret Policemans Ball (1979)
      The first show to bear the legendary “Secret Policeman’s” title took place over four nights in June 1979. It was held — like the 1976 show that inspired it — at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London. John Cleese again secured most of the talent and (in his own words) “slightly directed” the stage show. In addition to Peter Cook, Eleanor Bron and half of Monty Python, Cleese introduced audiences to newcomer Rowan Atkinson. Coproducer Martin Lewis suggested that the show feature acoustic interludes from rock musicians and recruited Pete Townshend and Tom Robinson to the cause. The resulting film was released theatrically with great success in the U.K. and Australia — and the Secret Policeman’s Ball was truly rollingmoreless
    • Pleasure At Her Majestys (1976)
      The very first show in what came to be called the "Secret Policeman's Ball" series took place over three late nights in April 1976 at Her Majesty's Theatre in London. The show was instigated by John Cleese, who volunteered to "round up a few pals" to perform for Amnesty International's benefit. These pals transpired to be most of Monty Python, Beyond The Fringe and The Goodies (three of the U.K.'s most successful humor ensembles) — together with leading solo performers. It was a gathering of the British comedic tribes. Cleese titled the show "A Poke In the Eye (With a Sharp Stick)." The film documenting this comedy summit was titled Pleasure At Her Majesty's — a wordplay on the formal British expression for imprisonment in which convicts are "detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure."moreless
  • Season 1