The Pretty Policeman’s Ball was a fundraising concert for London Gay Switchboard (as it was known then.)
Held at the Piccadilly Theatre, it featured some of the best LGBT talent of that period. This included musicians Bronski Beat and Tom Robinson, actors Miriam Margolyes and Simon Callow and stand-up comedians Bernard Padden and Simon Fanshawe.
The name ‘Pretty Policeman’s Ball’ was a take on ‘The Secret Policeman’s Ball’ – a regular fundraiser for Amnesty International. ‘Pretty policemen’ were plain-clothed policemen who would flirt and proposition gay men outside well-known gay venues, then arrest them for ‘importuning for immoral purposes’.
But there may also have been another reason for the Amnesty reference: throughout the 80s and well in to the 90s Amnesty would not fight for people persecuted on the grounds of their sexuality. (For further information on this, click here.)
The Pretty Policeman’s Ball raised £10,000 for London Switchboard.