The sketch presents the 90th birthday of elderly upper-class Englishwoman Miss Sophie, who hosts a celebration dinner every year for her friends Mr Pommeroy, Mr Winterbottom, Sir Toby, and Admiral von Schneider. (The plot has nothing to do with New Year's Eve. There is a "Happy new year" toast, but this is purely a reference to Miss Sophie's birthday.) The problem is that due to Miss Sophie's considerable age, she has outlived all of her friends, and so her equally aged manservant James makes his way around the table, impersonating each of the guests in turn. Miss Sophie decides on appropriate drinks to accompany the menu: Mulligatawny soup (Miss Sophie orders dry sherry), North Sea haddock (with white wine), chicken (with champagne), and fruit for dessert (with port) served by James, who finds himself raising (and emptying) his glass four times per course. That takes its toll, increasingly noticeable in James's growing difficulty in pouring the drinks, telling wine glasses from vases... Written by
Narrator Heinz Pieper made the mistake of mistranslating "Same procedure as last year" to "Same procedure than last year". This led to numerous protests by English-teachers, so that NDR was obliged to replace those lines with (correct) test recordings, which have been spliced in since 1988 - though on close inspection, both Frintons and Wardens lips obviously still move to the incorrect line. See more »
After James burps, Miss Sophie takes hold of her chair's armrests probably in anticipation of James almost tipping her chair backwards. See more »
[impersonating Mr Pommeroy]
Happy New Year, Sophie dear!
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Even here in Australia one is not spared the ritual of "Dinner for One".
For many years SBS (the multi language public broadcaster here) has shown "Dinner for One" on New Year's Eve.
The version that is shown is the 1963 German TV version with English subtitles for the German introduction. (Although for some reason they have edited out the Heinz Piper's German explanation of the English dialogue!)
It remains a simple pleasure to be savoured each year!
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