In 2004 Britain's BBC commissioned a documentary to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the 1979 Amnesty show - the first to carry the "Secret Policeman's Ball" title. By that time there had been no less than 11 Amnesty galas - including performances by literally scores of comedians and musicians. With such a vast treasure trove to draw on, the resulting film was rich in anecdotes and extracts, though inevitably rather subjective. The memories of the original participants were somewhat shaky, but what emerges clearly is the rich pioneering spirit of the first wave of shows (1976â€“1981) and how those events helped inspire the explosion of benefit shows that followed - including Live Aid and the many subsequent Amnesty galas.moreless
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