The Secret Policemans Balls are a legendary series of benefit shows staged to raise funds for Amnesty International. Beginning in 1976, they have featured the cream of Britain s comedians and musicians, and laid the ground... more »work for high-profile charity events,
including Live Aid. This 3-dvd set collects the five biggest and best Balls, featuring Monty Pythons John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Graham Chapman and Terry Gilliam, Beyond The Fringes Dudley Moore and Peter Cook, Billy Connolly, Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean), Jennifer Saunders(Absolutely Fabulous) and Hugh Laurie (House M.D.). In addition to the comics, the shows feature historic unplugged performances by Pete Townshend, Sting, Phil Collins, Bob Geldof, Peter Gabriel, Donovan, Jackson Browne, Lou Reed, Kate Bush and Joan Armatrading. Also featured are rare duets from guitar legends Eric Clapton & Jeff Beck and Mark Knopfler & Chet Atkins.
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)
The Secret Policeman s Biggest Ball (1989)
* Remember The Secret Policemans Ball?(2004): Feature-length BBC documentary celebrating the 25th anniversary. Never before seen in the U.S.
* Footage from the U.K. premiere of the Secret Policemans Other Ball.
* Rare bonus footage.
* Brand-new essays and video intros byco-producer Martin Lewis.« less
"These are NOT the complete shows, but the complete shows do not exist on DVD. However, they're showing at the Paley Center in NYC in July 2009--check out [...]. They're also at the Paley Center in LA until July 19, 2009--check out [...].
Five stars for content, 3 stars for quality, which varies a lot, but is noticeably better than the VHS version. There's quite a bit of profanity, so if that bothers you, be forewarned. Pete Townshend's acoustic solos make these DVDs more than worth the price. Sting's solo performances are incredible, too. Phil Collins does "Something in the Air Tonight" with just piano and bass, and it's so taut and intense, it'll knock your socks off! There's an alternate version of Monty Python's "Parrot Sketch" with a surprise ending. Rowan Atkinson does his pianist sketch and a cleaned up version of "Smut" retitled "Schoolmaster". John Cleese is hilarious, as always. Fry and Laurie do "Hedge" and "Silver Dick". The list of sketches is really long:
Pleasure at Her Majesty's
Starring John Cleese, Peter Cook, Carol Cleveland, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam, Dudley Moore, Alan Bennett, John Bird, Barry Humphries, Jonathan Miller, Michael Palin, Graham Chapman, Bill Oddie, Graeme Garden, Amnesty Staff and Harrod's saleslady, Dame Edna, Neil Innes, John Fortune, Des Jones, and Eleanor Bron.
Playing for the Cameras, A Poke in the Lens, Sunday Morning Rehearsal, Preparing for Court, Funky Business, Brushing Up Their Shakespeare, On Sundays He Goes Rehearsing, A Very Interesting Fact (the Cleese/Cook sketch), With a Sharp Pick, Less Moore--More Jones, Audience with a Housewife Superstar, Ham and Parrot, April Fool's Night, Pet Shop (the Parrot sketch), T.E. Lawrence, Spunk!, Happy Darling?, Miner, Court Room, The Audition, Protest Song, The Last Supper (Cleese/Lynn), Funky Gibbon, Telegram, Mime Artist, Asp, The Japes Lecture, Appeal, So That's The Way You Like It, and Lumberjack Song
The Secret Policeman's Ball
Starring: Peter Cook, John Cleese, Clive James, Eleanor Bron, Pete Townshend, Rowan Atkinson, Michael Palin, John Williams (guitarist), The Ken Campbell Road Show, Terry Jones, Anna Ford, Clive Jenkins, Mike Brearley, and Tom Robinson.
Interesting Facts, Telegrams, Pregnancy Test, Pinball Wizard, School Master (Rowan Atkinson), Cheese Shop, Cavatina, Sensation Seekers!, The Pianist, The Name's the Game!, Glad to be Gay, Entirely a Matter for You, Four Yorkshirement (Cleese, Palin, Jones, Atkinson), Won't Get Fooled Again, andthe End of the World.
Extras on Disc 1:
Bookshop, From Beyond the Veil, Words and Things, all from "The Mermaid Frolics", 1977; Drowned, Damage Your Health?, TV Commercial, Commentaries and Introductions by Martin Lewis.
The Secret Policeman's Other Ball
Starring: John Cleese, Rowan Atkinson, Alexei Sayle, Sting, John Wells, Chris Langham, Phil Collins & Daryl Stuermer, Pamela Stephenson, Graham Chapman, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Victoria Wood, Donovan (with Danny Thompson), John Bird, Tin Brooke-Taylor, John Fortune, Griff Rhys Jones, Bob Geldof (with Johnny Fingers), Alan Bennett, and Michael Palin.
A Word of Thanks, Beekeeping, What's on in Stoke Newington, Message in a Bottle, Denis on the Menace, Crass Shallow Humor, In the Air Tonight (really nice acoustic version, just guitar and piano), Clothes Off! (Cleese/Stephenson--is this the one you meant, Spiny?), Farther Up the Road, Had it up to Here, Catch the Wind, Top Of the Form, President Reagan's Big One, I Don't Like Mondays, Men's Talk, Card Dance, The Conductor (Atkinson/Beethoven's 5th), Drugs, I Shall Be Released, and Stop Those Credits!
The Secret Policeman's Third Ball
Starring: Ruby Wax, Spitting Image, Kate Bush (with David Gilmour), Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, Joan Armatrading, Lenny Henry, Nik Kershaw, Jackson Browne & Paul Brady, Phil Cool, Duran Duran, John Cleese, Mark Knopfler & Chet Atkins, Bob Geldof, Emo Phillips, Lou Reed, Ben Elton, Peter Gabriel, Youssou N'Dour), and Sting.
Preamble, Opening Titles, Reagan and Thatcher, Running Up That Hill, Hedge Sketch, I Love it when You Call Me Names, Lowdown Left-Handed Dirty Hound Dog, Wouldn't it be Good, Salvador, Motorway, Save a Prayer, The Silver Dick Award, I'll See You In My Dreams, Imagine, Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud, This is the World Calling, An American in London, Tell it to Your Heart, Sex Jokes, and Biko.
Extras on Disk 2: Roxanne, The Secret Policeman's Other Ball World Premiere (March 1982), US Trailer and TV Spot (May 82), Special US-Only Sequences, Commentary and Introductions by Martin Lewis.
The Secret Policeman's Biggest Ball
Starring: Michael Palin, John Cleese, Lenny Henry, Spitting Image, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Tina Bishop (with Kathy Burke and Simon Brint), Dawn French, Chris Langham, Jools Holland, Roland Rivron, Robbie Coltrane, Adrian Edmondson, Jennifer Saunders, John Bird, Rory Bremner, Steve Nallon, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Jimmy Mulville, John Williams, and Ben Elton.
Pet Shop (1989 version), Bad Jokes, The Royal Family and the Poll Tax, The Frog and Peach, Amnesia International Song (Memories), The Argument Clinic, Trevor Nettleford, Jazz Interlude, William Tell, Improvisation, The Last Summer (Cleese/Edmondson), Biggles Goes to See Bruce Springsteen, Gorbachev, Bush, and Thatcher (that would be W's dad), Schoolboy Poetry, Special Branch, Crunchy Frog, Stage Crew, Cavatina, One Leg Too Few, Sick Trigger, Schoolgirl Contraception/I'm a Dancer, and Goodbye.
Extras on Disk 3: Remember the Secret Policeman's Ball? Documentary (2004), Introductions by Martin Lewis. "
Secret Policemen don't have balls...
Jeffrey R. Threatt | Northern Virginia, USA | 03/02/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I remember stumbling across the Americanized version of this back in the '80s. It was only "The Secret Policeman's Ball" and "The Secret Policeman's Other Ball" then, but I still thought it was great. And who had even heard of Rowan Atkinson then?
Now with this collection, you have all the Balls gathered in one place. It's hours of fun!
I've always been a huge Monty Python fan, but when you throw in the aforementioned Rowan Atkinson, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, and scads of other folks (whose names I don't remember), plus tons of musical talent (e.g. Eric Clapton, Sting and Pete Townsend), how can you go wrong?
And didn't they all look so young then?"
Pete Townshend accoustic! (It's about time this was released
B. Blankholm | Minneapolis, MN United States | 03/26/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I remember first seeing the 'Secret Policeman's Ball' at the theater when I was a kid, as I've always been such a fan of Monty Python and Pete Townshend and 'The Who'. I was excited to read that all of the 'Balls' were being released as a set, and both songs by Pete Townshend were being included. Very funny stuff on these discs, and for a good cause!"
Some Big Balls!
T. Davis | Seattle, WA | 02/15/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the 70s and 80s, a group of British musicians and comedians got together again and again for the causes of charity and human rights, and selections from each show became best-selling LPs and CDs with absurd double entendres as titles. The complete televised proceedings are exhaustively documented in this very reasonably-priced 3-DVD box set, together with many heretofore unreleased or rarely-seen performances. If you like the performers involved (and I definitely do), you will enjoy their loose, good-humored sets and onstage interactions, as well as the comprehensive making-of documentary included. For some, it may be too much of a good thing, but I can't get enough."
Great set of events given decent DVD treatment
bass boy | Arkansas | 02/09/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Kudos to those putting this DVD out. It's funny and it's great to see the musical acts. The only thing is, the video quality is so-so, and the sound has slight hiss, like VHS tapes. There's even a couple popping noises when the film cameras switch angles/reels a couple of times. Some of the image quality is good, while some is clearly taken from videotape masters. Weren't these shot originally on film? If so, I wonder why they didn't restore the film stock (film seems to be a lot easier to digitally clean up than videotape these days.) Regardless, it's good to have these shows in one package. I give the package a B or maybe a B+. Good skits and really good music."