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Secret Policeman's Ball

Updated June 4, 2000.

SYNOPSIS John Cleese put together several variety shows to help raise money for Amnesty International. The first was entitled The Secret Policeman's Ball. Several famous comedians were featured in the live production (which was performed for 4 nights) including Rowan Atkinson, Peter Cook, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, and Eleanor Bron. They also featured musical guests like Pete Townsend. The variety shows were popular enough for Cleese to hold a few more throughout the years.

So what does this have to do with Mr. McCoy? One of the groups who performed in the original Secret Policeman's Ball was Ken Campbell and a few of his former Roadshow folks: Sylveste McCoy and David Rappaport, most notably. During the 8 minutes they are on, Sylv does the famous "Indian Shirt Trick," hammers a nail into his nose, and escapes from some Metropolitan Police handcuffs while a model train (with attached fork) is set to hurtle toward his heart.

REVIEW I first saw the 8 minutes of Roadshow when a friend showed me The Secret Policeman's Other Ball, an out of print video compilation of the first two Policeman's Balls. I enjoyed it so much, I searched high and low for a copy of the video (and found it). Recently Amnesty International has re-released a video of the original Ball with proceeds going back to the charity. I ended up buying one of those too. (Be sure to watch the entire video. The game show with Terry Jones and John Cleese is one of the funniest things I've ever seen.)

PRODUCTION INFO Produced by Amnesty International/Rhino Entertainment in 1976/1998.

AVAILABILITY Currently Available (NTSC only).

SOUNDS As with all my wavs, I have compressed and uncompressed versions.

For the regular 11,025 Hz, 16 bit, Mono sounds, click on the Regular button. For the compressed MPEG Layer-3 sounds, click on the Compressed button.

Regular Compressed Ken Campbell: "What's next on the agenda for tonight, McCoy?"
Sylveste McCoy: "The Indian Shirt Trick."
Ken Campbell: "The Indian Shirt Trick."
Regular Compressed Sylveste McCoy: "Now, what's your name?"
Indian Shirt Guy: "Phil."
Sylveste McCoy: "Phil, yes. Can I call you Phil?"
Phil: "Yeah."
Sylveste: "You call me Mr. McCoy, right?"
Regular Compressed Sylveste McCoy: "Music maestro, please!"
Regular Compressed Ken Campbell: "Do you accept the challenge, McCoy?"
Sylveste McCoy: "Yes!"
Regular Compressed Ken Campbell: "Sylveste McCoy is now going to attempt to hammer a four-inch nail into his head."

Sylveste McCoy, Human Bomb Man of many buttons. The Indian Shirt Trick goes awry. ...about to hammer a four-inch nail into his head. Hammering a nail into his nose. Success! Removing the nail requires pliers. Gently does it... Sylveste sans kilt. Metropolitan Police Handcuffs... (And David Rappaport) That's gotta hurt!