Reviews

The Secret Policeman's Ball: The Complete Edition

3

"Without your intestines, you'd be unable to digest," drones Peter Cook to a corpsing John Cleese. "Then you'd look a bit of a fool, wouldn't you?"

With Amnesty International picking up the takings, the 1979 Secret Policeman's Ball was comedy's Live Aid. It was the first time the '60s Beyond The Fringe old guard (Cook, Jonathan Miller, Alan Bennett) had performed with the new icons (Monty Python) - and a few up and coming upstarts who were along for the exposure (Rowan Atkinson, Billy Connolly). It's fascinating to see how the Fringe's cerebral, satirical style meshes with the Python-trailblazed absurdism that would soon mutate into `alternative' comedy. Probably because of all the mutual respect sloshing around, the material is uneven, but the greatest hits (Four Yorkshiremen, Parrot Sketch, Cheese Shop...) are pretty direct. All the subsequent `Balls' are included in this exhaustive package, but the original is the only one with an edge of occasion.

Film Details

  • tbc
  • UK Theatrical Release Date: November 11th 2002

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