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On BBC 2, "Remember the Secret Policeman's Ball?" will be featured on Wednesday 29 Dec, 9:00 pm - 10:15 pm (GMT). In 1979, a group of Britain's best comedians gathered to perform a series of sketches in aid of Amnesty International. The four performances at Her Majesty's Theatre in London were filmed and shown on television in December that year. This Arena documentary marks the 25th anniversary of the first Secret Policeman's Ball.
The line-up included Monty Python stalwarts John Cleese, Terry Jones and Michael Palin. Peter Cook appeared as the redoubtable EL Wisty and Pete Townshend performed acoustic versions of Pinball Wizard and Won't Get Fooled Again.
New to most people at the time was the up-and-coming Rowan Atkinson, who wowed the crowds with his characterisation of a sardonic public school teacher. Such was its success that the ground-breaking comedy event spawned three more versions.
Alongside classic comedy moments, the film examines this event with interviews and recollections of cast members from all four Balls - John Cleese, Sir Bob Geldof, Alan Bennett, Jennifer Saunders, Stephen Fry, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam, Ruby Wax, Lenny Henry, Sting, Phil Collins and Rowan Atkinson. Contains strong language.