on 2 September 2003
Much to my regret, for some odd reason, I don't think I have ever seen a "truly complete" version of any one of these wonderful performances...
When these shows came out on VHS, I found several very annoying differences in regard to the length and 'completeness' of the shows. The PAL videos contained bits and sketches that did not appear on the NTSC videos, entitled under the same name, and vice versa. (This was the case with all of the shows).
Now, finally (!), these shows are available on DVD!!! - and still, I found some missing bits. For instance: Billy Connolly's 'Country & Western' sketch from "The Secret Policeman's Ball" does not appear here. (And the funny thing is, that you can even see his name on the credits...), another missing bit is Lenny Henry's wonderful monologue as Trever Netelford with his 'inquiring mind' (- missing from "The Secret Policeman's Biggest Ball") and there are a couple of others... - and these are things that you can get on the videos (and again, it depends on which ones you buy...).
Why can't we ever get a full and complete version of these shows??? Why??? Why??? Why???
Another thing - and this will end my short chain of complaints -If they're going to make a special "Best-of Music Edition" (- which I think is rather silly - because there's nothing "new". You've already got all those musical numbers on the other DVDs in the set - and all you need to do it to skip chapters), why not make a "Best-of Comedy Edition" as well? - for the people who are more interested in the comedy side of these shows?
But, all nitpicking aside, this a really fabulous collection! The transfer may seem not-very-good, but I think that concidering the horrific origional masters, the transfer is fantastic!!
So it's missing a couple of funny bits... big-deal... - It has plenty of other great sketches and comedy routines, as well as all the best British-music hits from the 70s and 80s.
This set contains the show, which I believe should be in the house of anyone who conciders himself to be a Monty Python fan, that has a version of the Parrot Sketch where you can see Michael Palin being very 'naughty', giggling and trying to keep a stight face... absolutely hilarious!!!.. It's as though Palin and Cleese are virtually trying to 'break' each other...
Another favorite of mine is the Peter Cook's fabulous "Memories of a Miner"... and there are plenty of other wonderful enjoyable materail from one of the best periods of British comedy...
All in all, this is a very highly recomended set and it's worth the money.
on 24 September 2009
now dont get me wrong, i like this dvd but there are bits missing.
i used to own the VHS set but my jvc recorder chewed one of the casettes up so i got rid of it, this vhs set had a few more acts featured on it and was edited differently (so as to fit it all on the tapes i assume).
billy connolly was one of the missing acts, which is a shame as he was very funny at TSPB, he can be seen on the stage at the end of the 1981 show (right in the middle next to john cleese).
now to whats featured :
Pleasure At Her Majestys - 1976 ~ features : John Cleese, Michael Palin, Peter cook, Dame Edna, Alan Bennett, Tim Brooke Taylor, John Fortune, Graham Chapman, John Bird, Eleanor Bron, Carol Cleveland, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Neil Innes, Bill Oddie, Johnathan Miller.
Mermaid Frollics - 1977 ~ features : Peter Ustinov, John Cleese, Peter Cook, Connie Booth, Terry Jones, Julie Covington, Johnathan Miller, Pete Atkin, Des Jones.
The Secret Policemans Ball - 1979 ~ features : Peter Cook, John Cleese, Clive James, Pete Townshend, Rowan Atkinson, Michael Palin, John Williams, Sylvester Mccoy, Ken Campbell, David Rappaport, Terry Jones, Tom Robinson.
The Secret Policemans Other Ball - 1981 ~ features : Rowan Atkinson, John Cleese, Alexie Sayle, Sting, John Wells (as Denis Thatcher), Phil Collins, Dame Edna, Jasper Carrot, Eric Clapton, Victoria Wood, Boomtown Rats, Michael Palin
The Secret Policemans Third Ball - 1987 ~ features : Ruby Wax, Spitting Image, Kate Bush, Stephen Fry & Hugh Laurie, Lenny Henry, Joan Armatrading, Mark Knopfler, Bob Geldof, Nick Kershaw, Robbie Coltrane, Phil Cool,
Duran Duran, John Cleese, Chet Atkins, Emo Phillips, Lou Reed, Ben Elton, Peter Gabriel.
The Secret Policemans Biggest Ball - 1989 ~ features : Michael Palin, John Cleese, Lenny Henry, Spitting Image, Peter Cook & Dudley Moore, Kathy Burke, Dawn French, Ade Edmonson, Hugh Laurie & Stephen Fry, Robbie Coltrane, Jennifer Saunders, John Williams, Ben Elton.
Amnesty Internationals Big 30 (Special Edition) - 1991 ~ features : Alexie Sayle, Johnathan Ross, Tom Jones, Spitting Image, Mel Smith & Gryff Rhys Jones, Morrissey, Andrew Strong, Mike Mcshane, Dawn French & Jennifer Saunders, Have I Got News For You, Mark Little, Jason Donovan, Trev & Simon, E M F, Jools Holland & Paula Yates, Rick Astley, Punt and Dennis, Seal, Spinal Tap, Phil Cornwell & Steve Coogan, Dave Gilmour, Dave Stewart, Emo Phillips, Lisa Stansfield, John Major, Frank Skinner, Daryll Hall, Julian Clary.
The Secret Policemans Ball - Music Edition (a selection of the music from the shows)
Remember The Secret Policemans Ball - Documentary (im sure this was an episode of "Arena" on the bbc)