Dinner for One is a comedy sketch originally written for the theater in 1934 but recorded for German TV in 1963. For exactly 50 years, since 1972, German television has repeated the 18-minute sketch every single year on New Year’s Eve, making it the most frequently aired program.
The sketch is broadcast in all German-speaking as well as Scandinavian countries of Europe, with the tradition of viewing Dinner for One before going out to celebrate the New Year having become an imperative. It is said that up to half of the population of German-speaking Europe watches it each year on December 31. Notably, the phenomenon is hardly known in the English-speaking U.S. or the UK.
Two well-known British comedians and actors of the time, Freddie Frinton and May Warden, perform the sketch, having played it on stage in Britain since 1945.
In an ancient English mansion, Miss Sophie—whose family name from the respectable English nobility is withheld for reasons of dignity—celebrates her 90th birthday. She has invited her dear friends from the good old times (Mr. Winterbottom, Admiral von Schneider, Mr. Pommeroy, and Sir Toby), but none of her former friends is still alive. So, it is up to faithful butler James to toast the lady of the house in the name of the individual guests….
Dinner for One: The greatest cult film you’ve never heard of