Music and comedy share the stage in this performance film, which records a four-night variety show presented in 1987 as a benefit for the human rights organization Amnesty International. A handful of top British comedians were on hand for the revue, including Stephen Fry & Hugh Laurie, Lenny Henry, Ben Elton and Phil Cool, with special appearances by John Cleese of Monty Python and the puppet troupe Spitting Image. (American comic Emo Phillips also performs his standup act.) Several leading musical stars of the day also contributed their talents to the event, including Peter Gabriel, Duran Duran, Kate Bush with David Gilmour, Lou Reed, Jackson Browne with Paul Brady, Mark Knopfler with Chet Atkins, Bob Geldoff, Youssou N'Dour and Nik Kershaw. As the title suggests, The Secret Policeman's Third Ball was preceded by two other Amnesty International benefit shows coordinated by John Cleese, with several more to follow.