UK: The Secret Policeman's Ball is back

Amnesty International UK today announced the return of a legend, the best-loved name in comedy, The Secret Policeman’s Ball. The comedy event will take place for one night only at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday 14 October 2006, and will be broadcast on Channel 4 television soon after.

Re-invented and re-booted for the twenty-first century, The Secret Policeman’s Ball - which launches Amnesty International’s ‘Protect The Human Week’ - will feature an unprecedented line-up of comedy and music talent standing up for humanity and human rights. As well as the traditional mix of stand-up and sketch comedy, Amnesty International will be adding many new ingredients, including animations, podcasts and viral films.

Public support for Amnesty increased by 700% after the first three shows, the profile of human rights went through the roof, and once again The Secret Policeman’s Ball has been called on to take its place in the fight for global justice.

Amnesty International UK Secret Policeman’s Ball Producer Lisle Turner said:

“People have been pushing us to do another Ball for many years and we always declined. We’re doing it now because the world needs a poke in the eye, it needs laughter and frankly, it needs more Balls.

“Sometimes what the world needs to see global human rights abuses, is a hard hitting report. But sometimes a side-splitting joke can work just as well.

“It’s never been more important to stand up for humanity and human rights - and as it was a generation ago, the Ball is our secret weapon to rally the troops.

“After years of heroic service, the Ball took a well-earned rest. But now its back – bigger, better and ballsier than ever before.”

Thirty years ago in 1976, Amnesty International, with a little help from John Cleese and his friends, began producing world-changing comedy shows that promoted human rights. The series, collectively known as The Secret Policeman’s Balls, consisted of seven shows and lasted until 1991, taking the UK public by storm.

The original shows contained many seminal showbiz moments: some of Monty Python’s finest live performances, John Cleese and Peter Cook’s first on-stage collaboration, Terry Jones in Beyond The Fringe sketches, Sting’s first solo performance, and Rowan Atkinson’s first try-out with a voice now globally recognised as that of Mr Bean.

With music from Bob Geldof, Lou Reed, Kate Bush, Duran Duran (and with Bono in the audience), The Ball was the first event of its kind - demonstrating the power of artists and entertainment to inspire action, paving the way for Live Aid and Comic Relief.

Former Python member and Ball performer Michael Palin said:

“As a veteran of the first Amnesty shows I wish great success to the Secret Policeman’s Ball. By mixing a good cause and a line-up of performers you’d never see together anywhere else, the shows had a mad exuberance. Anything could happen and usually did. There simply is nothing like an Amnesty comedy show.”

Amnesty International, which now has more than 260,000 members and supporters in the UK and nearly two million worldwide, campaigns to abolish the death penalty and torture, for the release of all prisoners of conscience, to control the Arms and to Women's rights's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights.

Note to editors:
Tickets for The Secret Policeman’s Ball will go on sale in September.
A separate briefing on former Ball events - including a list of performers - is available on request.
For more information: www.secretpoliceman.com

Media contacts:
Freud Communications:
Zoe Anderson: 020 7291 6378, zoe.anderson@freud.com br />Danielle Robinson: 020 7291 6316, danielle.robinson@freud.com /p>

Amnesty International UK Media Unit:
Neil Durkin: 020 7033 1547, neil.durkin@amnesty.org.uk br />Sarah Green: 020 7033 1549, sarah.green@amnesty.org.uk br />Out of hours: 07721 398984

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