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The Secret Policeman's Biggest Ball (1989)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Documentary | TV Movie June 1991
The 1989 show returned to the roots of the series with an emphasis on comedy and eschewing the music that, by the 1987 show, had come to be an equal component of the Balls. The cast was a ... See full summary »


Mike Holgate

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Credited cast:
John Bird John Bird ... Himself
Rory Bremner Rory Bremner ... Himself (as Spitting Image)
Kathy Burke ... Herself
John Cleese ... Himself (as Spitting Image)
Robbie Coltrane ... Himself
Peter Cook ... Himself
Adrian Edmondson ... Himself (as Ade Edmondson)
Ben Elton Ben Elton ... Himself
Dawn French ... Herself
Stephen Fry ... Himself
Lenny Henry ... Himself
Jools Holland Jools Holland ... Himself
Chris Langham ... Himself
Hugh Laurie ... Himself
Dudley Moore ... Himself


The 1989 show returned to the roots of the series with an emphasis on comedy and eschewing the music that, by the 1987 show, had come to be an equal component of the Balls. The cast was a blend of the 1960s and '70s generation of performers (John Cleese, Michael Palin, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore) with '80s newcomers such as Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, Lenny Henry, Rory Bremner, Ben Elton, Robbie Coltrane and Adrian Edmondson (The Young Ones). The show took place over four nights in late August through early September 1989 at London's Cambridge Theatre and was directed -- in a demonstration of cross-generational entente -- by John Cleese and Absolutely Fabulous cocreator/star Jennifer Saunders. The show was the last Ball to feature any of the original performers. When the Amnesty shows resumed in the 1990s and 2000s, the Ball had passed to a new generation

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Not Rated






Release Date:

June 1991 (USA) See more »

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Did You Know?


The Pope/Michelangelo sketch is based on an actual historical incident. The Renaissance artist Paolo Veronese really did paint a "Last Supper" with extraneous contemporary elements. The Inquisition investigated and advised him to remove those elements. Instead, he really did just rename it - to "Feast at the House of Levi." See more »


[the Dead Parrot sketch]
Pet Shop Owner: What's wrong with it?
Customer: I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. It's dead. That's what's wrong with it!
Pet Shop Owner: So it is. Well, there's your money back, and a couple of holiday vouchers! Thank you!
Customer: Well you can't say Thatcher hasn't changed some things!
See more »


Follows Pleasure at Her Majesty's (1976) See more »

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User Reviews

The material has definitely gotten pretty thin....
29 October 2010 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

This is the fourth "Secret Policeman" DVD I have seen and I certainly could see a downward spiral in the quality over the years. Whereas in earlier incarnations there were a few duds, this DVD is mostly duds. The bottom line is that the performers aren't at their best and too many of the sketches were re-treads--and the originals were better. Plus, there seemed to be more jokes aimed at Brits in this one---with many references that this American couldn't quite get. Plus, many of the better performers in previous years were gone. If you are a Monty Python fan, you'll have to content yourself with just John Cleese and Michael Palin. Rowan Atkinson is likewise not present. In one of their last performances together you do get to see Peter Cook and Dudley Moore with some rather limp material. Highlights for me included a couple nice bits by Lenny Henry and a violent skip involving shooting an apple off a guy's head. But even these didn't make it worth slogging through the rest, as too often it was just painfully dull. My advice is see the earlier episodes first and if you must, try this one.

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