Secret Policeman’s Ball comedy broadcasts to feature Eddie Izzard and Nish Kumar

Amnesty International is set to host a week of online comedy events featuring stars including Eddie Izzard, Nish Kumar and Meera Syal.

The live-streamed Secret Policeman’s Ball Unlocked shows will feature sketches from the charity’s previous events, as well as discussions with the performers who appeared in them.

Goodness Gracious Me stars Meera Syal, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Nina Wadia and Kulvinder Ghir, as well as comedian Nish Kumar, will discuss the comedy, which aired on BBC Radio 4 as well as on television, during a question-and-answer session with viewers.

Women in Film and TV Awards 2019 – London
Meera Syal will take part in a discussion (Ian West/PA)

A 2001 performance by Eddie Izzard featuring Harry Enfield, Dom Joly, Vic Reeves and Paul Whitehouse will also be introduced by The Guilty Feminist podcast host Deborah Frances-White, who will be hosting the virtual events.

She said: “The Secret Policeman’s Ball is synonymous with top-drawer comedy, blissed-out joy and a focus on human rights.

“These are all things we could use right now when it feels like basic rights like being able to hug our loved ones have, for good reason, gone away.

“If there was ever a time to look back on classic glorious sketches presented with panache at Secret Policeman’s events of yore with the performers who delivered them, it’s now.”

Yesterday UK Premiere – London
Deborah Frances-White will be hosting the events (Ian West/PA)

Frances-White will also host a discussion featuring actors Juliet Stevenson and Siobhan McSweeney about the Monty Python sketch The Four Yorkshiremen.

The Secret Policeman’s Ball began in 1976 when Amnesty International launched the comedy shows with Monty Python’s John Cleese.

The shows continued until 2012 before subsequently being revived as the Secret Policeman’s Podcast Live by Frances-White at the Edinburgh Festival in 2018, which then led to the Secret Policeman’s Tour last year.

Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen said: “Amnesty’s Secret Policeman’s Balls are trailblazing shows, demonstrating the power of artists, entertainment and comedy to raise awareness and spark action.

“As the world struggles through this pandemic, we could all do with a dose of light-hearted relief, which is why we’re bringing these iconic moments back to our screens once more.

“Amnesty will always shine a light in times of darkness – by being relentless in our fight against human rights abuses, showing solidarity, and by celebrating joy and laughter.

“We hope viewers come together to enjoy these hilarious sketches once again.”

– The virtual events will take place next week and will be broadcast on Amnesty International’s social media channels, as well as on YouTube.

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