dinner for one cover

On New Year's Eve, my wife showed me a 1963 English comedy sketch that is watched in Germany, Denmark and Sweden every New Year's Eve, much in the way that Americans watch "It's A Wonderful Life" at Christmas.


The sketch comes from the British Seaside Piers in the 1920s and has that mixture of slapstick, compassion and thinly concealed bawdy punchline that Pier humour thrived on. It was made for German television in 1963 but was performed in English by two English actors, May Warden and Freddie Frinton.


"Dinner For One" is also known as "The Ninetieth Birthday". Miss Sophie, an upper-class Englishwoman has established a tradition of hosting a celebration dinner for her friends Mr Pomeroy, Mr Winterbottom, Sir Toby and Admiral von Schneider for her birthday, Miss Sophie has now outlived all her friends so the tradition is maintained by her aged butler, James, who, as well as serving the meal and the drinks, impersonates all the guests, including drinking all of their toasts and becoming increasingly drunk.


There is some excellent physical comedy and a climax towards a punchline related to James' often repeated question to Miss Sophie, "The same procedure as last year, Miss Sophie?" This has reportedly become a catchphrase in Germany.


I found the sketch fresh and funny even though it's now more than fifty years old.


Take a look for yourself on the YouTube link below


[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lzQxjGL9S0&w=560&h=315]