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The Secret Policeman's Ball (1979)

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A series of benefit concerts to raise money for Amnesty International. Performances include comedy skits and musical numbers by a varied cast of mostly British performers. Featuring several... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Paul Abrahams ...
Himself (Piano Player)
...
Chris Beetles ...
Beetles and Buckman
Mike Brearley ...
Himself
...
Various Roles
Rob Buckman ...
Beetles and Buckman
Ken Campbell ...
Himself
Suzanne Church ...
Herself
...
Himself - Various Roles
...
Himself
...
Anna Ford ...
Herself
Clive James ...
Himself
Clive Jenkins ...
Himself
...
Syveste McCoy (as Sylveste McCoy)
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Storyline

A series of benefit concerts to raise money for Amnesty International. Performances include comedy skits and musical numbers by a varied cast of mostly British performers. Featuring several Monty Python members, Rowan Atkinson, and Peter Cook. Written by Anonymous

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June 1980 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

O horos tou xefonimenou batsou  »

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(theatrical) | (TV premiere)

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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to a 22nd June 1979 interview by Michael Billington on BBC-TV five days before The Secret Policeman's Ball (1979) was held, John Cleese said that the "Secret Policeman's Ball" title was created by Martin Lewis. Cleese said, "It's Martin Lewis' title, I can pin that one on him. But I thought it was quite funny". See more »

Quotes

Schoolmaster: All right, quiet. Ainsley. Babcock. Bland. Carthorse. Dint. Ellsworth-Beast Major. Ellsworth-Beast Minor. Fiat. German. Havenut. Haemoglobin. Jones M. Jones N. Kosygin. Loudhailer. Mattock. Nancyboy-Potter. Nibble.
[laughter]
Schoolmaster: I have a detention book. Orifice. Plectrum. Poise. Sediment. Soda. Taah. Taah? Under-Manager. Wicket. Williams-Wicket. Williams-Witcherley. Witcherley-Wicket. Witcherley-Williams. And Witcherley-Williams. Wocket. Zob. Hmmm, absent. All right, your essays. "Discuss the ...
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Connections

Followed by The Secret Policeman's Ball (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Pinball Wizard
Written by Pete Townshend
Solo accoustic version Performed by Pete Townshend (as Pete Townsend)
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User Reviews

 
Deserves to be carved in stone
23 November 2006 | by See all my reviews

It is perhaps a shame that Britain does not have something like the American Congress's official list of historically significant works of art. If there were, this show deserves framing as an iconic series of performances.

"The Secret Policeman's Ball" was the second benefit performance for the charity, Amnesty International. It followed the earlier "Pleasure at her Majesty's" in 1976. The Ball featured a most effective mix of old and new blood; from the old stable, several of the Pythons, Peter Cook at the height of his comic and satirical powers; from the new stable, Billy Connolly and Rowan Atkinson.

There were some old favourites among the acts (the "Four Yorkshiremen" and Python's "Cheese Shop"), but some of the new acts and sketches were inspired. In particular, Rowan Atkinson's sardonic "Schoolmaster", and Peter Cook's "Entirely a Matter for you", written specially for the occasion.

There is a minor musical landmark, with Pete Townsend (of the Who) reportedly forced to play acoustic rather than amplified for the first time in his life, alongside classical guitarist John Williams.

In later years, the subsequent Policeman's Balls were seen as a showcase for new talent with the result that several acts became over-the-top and hammed.


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