It is often considered the second film in the concert series after The Secret Policeman's Ball (1979). But in fact it is the fourth, as the first two films were not titled with any words from the phrase "Secret Policeman's Ball". The first two movies were made for television, they were Pleasure at Her Majesty's (1976) and The Mermaid Frolics (1977). The movie though is the second film in the theatrical release titles, but The Secret Policeman's Ball (1979) was actually also made for TV, but got theatrically released in other territories.
The movie was the first box-office hit in the USA for Miramax Films. In a 10th June 2000 Hollywood Reporter interview with Bob Weinstein and Harvey Weinstein, they said, "Back in 1982 when we were starting Miramax Films, Martin Lewis was the producer of what became our first hit movie - The Secret Policeman's Other Ball (1982) starring the Monty Pythons. Martin had a background in publicity and marketing and came up with a great campaign for the movie, creating a huge buzz and getting us free publicity, which was crucial to the film's success. We learned a lot about publicity and marketing from our experience with Martin Lewis".
In a 1986 interview on the NBC Today Show, Sting said, "I've been a member of Amnesty for five years and a supporter because of an entertainment show which was called 'The Secret Policeman's [Other] Ball' which I was involved in. And before that I didn't know about Amnesty's work and so in a sense I'm a success story". In 2004, in an interview with BBC-TV, Sting added, "The seed was planted at Amnesty for Bob Geldof. He saw what they were doing. He saw how entertainment could help that process and then he took the "Ball" and ran with it. Further than anybody could possibly imagine".
A joke awards night, "The Other Awards", was held in association with the movie as a promotional publicity stunt. A number of the spoof award categories and a picture of the award itself (which was a little silver statue of Colin Wheeler's cross-dressing Policeman icon) appeared on movie posters for the film. Such movie posters often declared in big bold type: "54 NOMINATIONS!". Those included on posters and press ads were (1) Best Use Of Silly Noises In A Sketch About Bee-keeping...Rowan Atkinson (2) Best Solo Performance By A Rock Star Whose Name Sounds Like String...Sting (3) Best Portrayal Of A Glaswegian Called Billy Connolly...Billy Connolly (4) Best Striptease By A Male And Female Comedy Team...John Cleese and Pamela Stephenson and (5) Best Performance By Three Grown Men In Gymslips And Pigtails...John Bird, Graham Chapman and Tim Brooke-Taylor.
According to the blog on the "Smarter Than Average" website, the spoof awards show, 'The Other Awards', associated with this movie, was to be held "...at a cinema on Regent Street following a screening of the film. It was due to be held at BAFTA's own 200-seater theatre around the corner on Piccadilly, but the British Academy got wind of the show's satirical intent four days before it was due to take place and canceled the £2,500 booking, causing a minor scandal in the Monday the 15th of March 1982 newspapers. Peter Cook was the host, announcing the award-winners from the increasingly expanding envelopes. There were supposed to be sixteen awards of Martin Lewis' creation given out, with all the winners being prearranged - "Tonight," Cook promised at the event's start, "there will be absolutely no suspense" - but this number was reduced when not every winner could show up; absentees included Eric Clapton and Donovan, the latter set to accept 'The Award For Reminding Us How Silly We Were All In '60s' - though Cook replaced 'Martin Lewis' word "Silly" with "Sensible"...footage of the event aired on BBC1 during the 6:25pm to 6:55pm segment of Nationwide (1969) on Thursday the 18th of March 1982, mere hours before David Frost hosted the genuine BAFTA Awards at 9.30pm on ITV".
The second Amnesty International charity concert performance and film to use the "Secret Policeman's Ball" phraseology which became synonymous with the series and the title basis for many subsequent entries.