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The Secret Policeman's Ball was the third of the benefit shows staged by the British Section of Amnesty International to raise funds for its research and campaign work in the human rights field. In later years, other Amnesty benefit shows also bore the Secret Policeman's title. They are informally referred to as The Secret Policeman's Balls.
The Secret Policeman's Ball took place over four consecutive nights in London in June 1979. It was a successor to the 1976 show A Poke In The Eye (With A Sharp Stick) (the film of which was titled Pleasure At Her Majesty's) and the 1977 show The Mermaid Frolics.
The show was directed by Monty Python alumnus John Cleese and producers Martin Lewis and Peter Walker. It subsequently yielded a one-hour TV special, a full-length movie, and two record albums (one each of comedy and music performances).
Musicians-turned-activists such as Sting, Peter Gabriel, Bob Geldof and Bono have attributed their participation in human rights issues to their exposure to Amnesty via The Secret Policeman's Ball show. Bono told Rolling Stone Magazine in 1986 “I saw The Secret Policeman’s Ball and it became a part of me. It sowed a seed..."