The Secret Policeman's Ball mediagraphy

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This is a list of audio, video and film releases of The Secret Policeman's Ball series of charity shows.

Theatrical films made from the shows[edit]

UK film releases[edit]

Title Director Producer Executive Producer Show director Show producer Stage year Release year Notes
Pleasure At Her Majesty’s Roger Graef Roger Graef Peter Luff Jonathan Miller John Cleese, David Simpson, Peter Luff & Martin Lewis 1976 1977 100-minute documentary featuring rehearsals, backstage footage and performance of the 1976 show A Poke In The Eye (With A Sharp Stick)
The Secret Policeman’s Ball Roger Graef Roger Graef & Thomas Schwalm Martin Lewis & Peter Walker John Cleese Martin Lewis & Peter Walker 1979 1980 94-minute concert performance film of the 1979 show of the same name
The Secret Policeman’s Other Ball Julien Temple Martin Lewis & Peter Walker John Cleese & Ron Eyre Martin Lewis & Peter Walker 1981 1982 99-minute concert performance film of the 1981 show of the same name

US film releases[edit]

Title Director Producer Executive Producer Year Notes
Monty Python Meets Beyond The Fringe Roger Graef Roger Graef & Thomas Schwalm Peter Luff & Martin Lewis 1978 Documentary featuring rehearsals, backstage footage and performance of the 1976 show A Poke In The Eye (With A Sharp Stick). This was the Pleasure At Her Majesty’s film misleadingly re-titled by the US distributor (without Amnesty’s permission) for the American market. This US theatrical version differed from the UK theatrical release. Approximately 15 minutes of behind-the-scenes documentary footage was cut from the original film.
The Secret Policeman’s Other Ball (USA Version) Martin Lewis Harvey Weinstein & Bob Weinstein 1982 110-minute concert film amalgamating footage from the two original UK films of the 1979 show and the 1981 show. With new, specially-created opening sequence. Original footage directed by Julien Temple & Roger Graef. Original footage produced by Martin Lewis & Peter Walker.

Australia/NZ film releases[edit]

Title Release date Notes
The Secret Policeman’s Ball 1981 UK theatrical version
The Secret Policeman’s Other Ball 1982 UK theatrical version

TV specials made from the shows[edit]

The premiere broadcast of each TV special, listed in chronological sequence (This list excludes TV transmissions of films that had received prior theatrical release)

UK TV broadcasts[edit]

Title Director Producer Executive Producer Show director Show producer Year Network Notes
Pleasure At Her Majesty’s Roger Graef Roger Graef David Simpson, Peter Luff & Martin Lewis Jonathan Miller John Cleese, David Simpson, Peter Luff & Martin Lewis 1976 BBC 1 100-minute documentary featuring rehearsals, backstage footage and performance of the 1976 show A Poke In The Eye (With A Sharp Stick).
The Mermaid Frolics Roger Graef Roger Graef Peter Luff & Martin Lewis Terry Jones Martin Lewis & Peter Luff 1977 ITV Network via Granada TV 60-minute TV special of performances from the 1977 show 'An Evening Without Sir Bernard Miles
The Secret Policeman’s Ball Roger Graef Roger Graef & Thomas Schwalm Martin Lewis & Peter Walker John Cleese Martin Lewis & Peter Walker 1979 ITV Network via London Weekend TV 60-minute TV special of highlights from the 1979 stage show of the same name. This was NOT the full-length 94-minute film released theatrically in 1980, though most sequences were also in the theatrical film.
The Secret Policeman’s Third Ball – The Music Ken O’Neill Neville Bolt & Tony Hollingsworth 1989 Channel 4 60-minute TV special of music performances from the 1987 shows. Transmitted after its home-video release
The Secret Policeman’s Third Ball Ken O’Neill Neville Bolt & Tony Hollingsworth 1991 Channel 4 95-minute TV special of performances from the 1987 shows. Transmitted after its home-video release.
The Secret Policeman’s Biggest Ball Mike Holgate Judith Holder 1989 ITV Network 70-minute TV special of performances from the 1989 show of the same name
Barf Bites Back 1991 ITV Network via London Weekend TV 60-minute TV special of show held to celebrate Amnesty's 30th anniversary
The Big 3-0Amnesty’s 30th Anniversary Special David G. Hillier Dave Morely & Graham K. Smith 1991 ITV Network via Central TV 120-minute TV show specially created as celebration of Amnesty's 30th anniversary
So You Think You’re Irish Gerard Stembridge John Sutton 1997 ITV Network via Granada TV 80-minute TV special
So You Think You’re Irish 2 Gerard Stembridge Producer: John Sutton & Sean Love 1998 ITV Network via Granada TV 3 x 30-minute TV episodes
We Know Where You Live, Live! Lisa Chapman & Richard Parker Malcolm Gerrie & Andy Ward Eddie Izzard Katherine Allen 2001 Channel 4 100-minute TV special of performances from the 2001 show of the same name.
The Secret Policeman’s Ball 2006 2006 Channel 4 70-minute TV special of highlights from the 2006 show.
The Secret Policeman’s Ball 2008 2008 Channel 4 TV special of highlights from the 2008 show.

US TV broadcasts[edit]

Title Director Executive Producer Music Original footage by Year Network Notes
The Secret Policeman's Private Parts Martin Lewis Harvey Weinstein & Bob Weinstein Alan Brewer Julien Temple, Roger Graef, Martin Lewis & Peter Walker 1983 HBO/Cinemax 80-minute compilation from the 1976 and 1977 shows; sequences from the 1979 and 1981 shows that had not been incorporated in the USA theatrical version of The Secret Policeman's Other Ball; unused outtakes from all four shows. With new, specially-created opening and interstitial sequences.

Related TV shows (UK & US)[edit]

  • Sky At Westminster Abbey (1981) - 75-minute concert celebrating Amnesty's 20th Anniversary
  • Conspiracy of Hope (1986) - All-day concert celebrating Amnesty International
  • Human Rights Now! (1988) - Concert celebrating Amnesty International
  • The Secret Policeman's Retro Ball! (1992) - 60-minute documentary on history of rock musician support for Amnesty
  • The Secret Policeman's Concert (1992) -60-minute compilation of rock performances for Amnesty
  • Free to Laugh: A Comedy and Music Special for Amnesty International -TV special video-taped at the Wiltern Theater, Hollywood on Sunday March 8, 1992
  • Amnesty International Concert for Human Rights (1998) -Paris concert celebrating 50th Anniversary of Universal Declaration Of Human Rights
  • Remember The Secret Policeman's Ball? (2004)- 75-minute documentary about the Amnesty shows

DVD box set[edit]

The Secret Policeman's Balls is a three-disc DVD box set released by Shout! Factory in the United States and Canada on 27 January 2009. The discs record comedic and musical performances given at a series of fund-raising events for Amnesty International known collectively as The Secret Policeman's Balls, the performances are from events between 1976 and 1989.[1]

The box set includes five films: Pleasure at Her Majesty's (1976), The Secret Policeman’s Ball (1979), The Secret Policeman's Other Ball (1981), The Secret Policeman’s Third Ball (1987) and The Secret Policeman’s Biggest Ball (1989).

Performers featured include members of Monty Python, namely John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones and Michael Palin, performers from the early-1960s Satire Boom, such as Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Alan Bennett and Jonathan Miller, as well then up-and-coming performers such as Rowan Atkinson, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, and Jennifer Saunders.

The box set also contains performances by musicians, Pete Townshend, Sting, Phil Collins, Bob Geldof, Peter Gabriel, Jackson Browne, Lou Reed, Kate Bush and Joan Armatrading, plus duets from Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck, and Mark Knopfler and Chet Atkins.

Also included is a BBC documentary Remember The Secret Policeman’s Ball, and some performances from The Mermaid Frolics (1977) and introductions and commentaries from executive producer Martin Lewis, who also provided the sleeve notes.[2]


Audio recordings made from the shows[edit]

UK - Audio releases[edit]

Title Producer Release date Label Notes
A Poke In The Eye (With A Sharp Stick) Martin Lewis 1976 Transatlantic Records Album of highlights of the 1976 show
The Mermaid Frolics Martin Lewis 1977 Polydor Records Album of comedy & music highlights of the 1977 An Evening Without Sir Bernard Miles
Here Comes The Judge Martin Lewis 1979 Virgin Records Mini-album featuring Peter Cook's "Entirely A Matter For You" monologue from "The Secret Policeman’s Ball"
The Secret Policeman’s Ball Martin Lewis 1979 Island Records Album of comedy highlights of the 1979 show
The Secret Policeman’s Ball – The Music Martin Lewis 1980 Island Records 12” EP of music highlights of the 1979 show
Neil Innes: Protest Song Martin Lewis 1980 Warner Bros. Records Single of Neil Innes' performance of "Protest Song" from "A Poke In The Eye (With A Sharp Stick)"
The Secret Policeman’s Other Ball Martin Lewis 1981 Springtime!/Island Records Album of comedy highlights of the 1981 show
The Secret Policeman’s Other Ball – The Music Martin Lewis 1982 Springtime!/Island Records Album of music highlights of the 1981 show
The Secret Policeman’s Third Ball 1987 Virgin Records Album of comedy highlights of the 1987 show
The Secret Policeman’s Third Ball – The Music 1987 Virgin Records Album of music highlights of the 1987 show
The Secret Policeman’s Ball Martin Lewis 1991 Laughing Stock Cassette-only reissue of original 1979 comedy album
The Complete 'A Poke In The Eye (With A Sharp Stick) Martin Lewis 1992 Springtime!/Castle First CD release of original 1976 album. Issued with bonus disc of unreleased material
The Complete 'Secret Policeman’s Other Ball Martin Lewis 1992 Springtime!/Castle First CD release of original 1981 album. Issued with bonus disc of unreleased material
The Secret Policeman’s Other Ball – The Music Martin Lewis 1992 Springtime!/Castle Communications First UK CD release of album of music highlights of the 1981 show

US/Canada - Audio releases[edit]

Title Producer Release date Label Notes
The Secret Policeman’s Ball – The Music Martin Lewis 1980 Atco/Atlantic Records Album of highlights of the 1979 show
The Secret Policeman’s Other Ball – The Music Martin Lewis 1982 Island/Warner Bros. Records Album of music highlights of the 1981 show
The Secret Policeman’s Third Ball – The Music 1987 Virgin Records Album of music highlights of the 1987 show
The Secret Policeman’s Other Ball – The Music Martin Lewis 1992 Springtime!/Rhino Records First US CD release of album of music highlights of the 1981 show. Released to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the album's original release in 1982
Dead Parrot Society: The Best Of British Comedy Martin Lewis 1993 Springtime!/Rhino Records Compilation CD includes first US release of comedy content from the 1976 & 1981 shows

CD Booklet notes[edit]

  • The Complete A Poke In The Eye – CD release Springtime!/Castle 1992
  • The Complete Secret Policeman's Other Ball – CD release Springtime!/Castle 1992
  • The Secret Policeman's Concert – CD release Springtime!/Castle 1992
  • The Secret Policeman's Other Ball – The Music – CD release Springtime!/Rhino 1992
  • Dead Parrot Society – CD release Springtime!/Rhino 1993

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Secret Policeman's Balls (2009)", Amazon.com, retrieved 3 March 2009.
  2. ^ Latchem, John, "Unveiling Britain's 'Secret'", Home Media Magazine Archived 2008-12-09 at the Wayback Machine, posted 05 Dec 2008, retrieved 3 March 2009.