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The Secret Policeman's Ball (1979)

TV Movie  |   |  Documentary, Comedy  |  June 1980 (UK)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 354 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 9 critic

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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Credited cast:
Paul Abrahams ...
Himself (Piano Player)
Various Roles
Chris Beetles ...
Beetles and Buckman
Mike Brearley ...
Various Roles
Rob Buckman ...
Beetles and Buckman
Ken Campbell ...
Suzanne Church ...
Himself - Various Roles
Peter Cook ...
Various Roles
Anna Ford ...
Clive James ...
Clive Jenkins ...


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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Release Date:

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?


The Secret Policeman's Ball (1979) was staged over four consecutive nights, from 27th until the 30th June 1979, at Her Majesty's Theatre, Haymarket in London. See more »


Judge: I hope you brought a toothbrush.
Judge: [aloud] Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, it is now my duty to advise you on how you should vote when you retire from this court. In the last few weeks we have all heard some pretty extraordinary allegations being made about one of the prettiest, about one of the most distinguished politicians ever to rise to high office in this country - or not, as you may think. We have heard, for example, from Mr Bex Bissell - a man who by his own admission is a liar, a...
See more »


Followed by The Secret Policeman's Ball (2012) See more »


In the Air Tonight
Written by Phil Collins
Piano accompanied version Performed by Phil Collins
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User Reviews

Uneven but funny...
5 December 2009 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This film is on the same disk as PLEASURE AT HER MAJESTY'S--and both are benefit performances by various British comics on behalf of Amnesty International. Unlike PLEASURE, however, THE SECRET POLICEMAN'S BALL has the addition of a few musical performances--which, in my opinion, detract from the comedy--though I am sure some will love seeing and hearing them. Like PLEASURE, this film is of rather grainy quality and does not have any captioning of any sort--a definite minus for non-Brits and those who are hard of hearing (and I was screwed because I fall in both categories). Seeing a restored and captioned version would be wonderful, but as far as I know is not possible--especially since this DVD is part of a set that was just released.

As far as the comedy goes, it's a mixed bag. Some of the skits (particularly the ones written by the Pythons) were great and I did enjoy some of Peter Cooke's bits as well. New to the show was Rowan Atkinson, and sadly, his bits were among the worst on the show. However, he was still quite young and the more recent Amnesty International performances have been fantastic. Plus, he was excellent in filling in for Eric Idle in "The Old Codger Skit"--the best thing in the show. Other great Python bits that were recycled include the Cheese Shop and a Python-like skit that opened the show with Cooke and Cleese. But, for every very good bit, there seemed to be a flat one. Perhaps some of this is because Americans like myself are less familiar with the other comics and I had less of an emotional investment in their acts. Part of this also was because some things just weren't funny or the dialog was so hard to follow (without captions) that it was futile--particularly the long and deliberately rapid Shakespeare bit (which, to me, was the worst thing in the show--very tedious indeed). Still, for fans of British comedy, this is an excellent little stroll down memory lane--and worth seeing despite my reservations. And, it's a great deal better than the first film--especially since this film concentrated solely on the performances and not the unnecessary backstage action.

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