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Last Updated: Sunday, 15 October 2006, 01:17 GMT 02:17 UK
Izzard shines at Policeman's Ball
Eddie Izzard

Comedian and actor Eddie Izzard was among the stars performing at the first Secret Policeman's Ball benefit show for 17 years.

Izzard shared the stage at the Royal Albert Hall with Chevy Chase, Russell Brand and Jon Culshaw among others.

The Magic Numbers and The Zutons provided music for the gig.

The London event raises money for Amnesty International and became famous through performances from comics like Peter Cook and the Monty Python team.

Saturday's show featured some politicised sketches critical of the US detention centre at Guantanamo Bay.

Concluding the performance, actor Jeremy Irons told the audience Amnesty was a "movement of ordinary people".

"People like us from around the world who stand up for humanity and human rights wherever truth, freedom or justice are denied," he said.

Earlier Amnesty's UK director Kate Allen said there was "so much excitement" surrounding the event's return.

John Cleese and Peter Cook
The way it was: John Cleese and Peter Cook in 1979's event
"The reason we brought back The Secret Policeman's Ball is that it's never been more important to stand up for human rights.

"They are coming under threat in ways that we hadn't anticipated."

Comic actor John Cleese was artistic director of most of the Secret Policeman's Balls during the 1970s and '80s and Rowan Atkinson was one of many performers who rose to prominence thanks to the shows.

The gigs are often described as the inspiration for the celebrity charity events which followed over the next decade.

Bob Geldof has said that without the Secret Policeman's Ball there would have been no Live Aid.

Saturday's performance was shown live at 17 Picturehouse cinemas around the country and Channel 4 plans to screen a recording later.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Clips of The Secret Policeman's Ball from 1979



SEE ALSO
In pictures: Secret Policeman's Ball
15 Oct 06 |  In Pictures
Secret Policeman's Ball returns
18 Aug 06 |  Entertainment
Stars turn out for Amnesty gig
04 Jun 01 |  Entertainment

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