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
In Norway the skit is shown in black and white every 23rd December, the night before Norwegians celebrate Christmas. NRK, the state channel, has tried to send it in colors on New years eve, but received massive protests from the people. 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 »
Cheerio, Miss Sophie!
[James downs Sir Toby's drink then moves to Admiral von Schneider's seat]
Admiral von Schneider?
Must I say it this year, Miss Sophie?
Just to please me, James.
Just to please you, very good, yes.
[James grabs von Schneider's cup]
[James clicks his heels, winces, downs von Schneider's drink, then moves to Mr Pommeroy's seat]
[...] See more »
Same procedure as every year... and still furiously funny!
It is to be wondered why the "Dinner For One" has never been a smash hit in the UK. It is a fact that it has been around for decades. Yet only two people have mastered this sketch in an unforgettable way: The artist Freddie Frinton and his graceful partner May Warden. During a visit to Blackpool, German entertainer Peter Frankenfeld and his colleague Heinz Dunkhase witnessed their great performance and managed, with some hardship, to persuade Frinton to come to Germany to film this most peculiar dinner. Frinton was not at all keen on Germany and its inhabitants and he would not perform in German either (This was perhaps a very wise decision). He also insisted on the tiger over which he stumbles more than once in 18 minutes. The ice bear, that has been organised by the producers had a bigger head than the tiger and this, according to Frinton would really have sent him flying. For eighteen years the Butler James had faithfully served Miss Sophie and her late guests. He would drink at least 4 pints of Sherry, Champagne and Port, always the same procedure as last year, and he would give his mistress a hand up when she decides to retire promising to do his very best. Frinton died five years after the filming just three weeks before the sketch was to be shot once more, in colour. (Sadly enough one of the German TV-stations attempted this once more a few years ago. With German actors and in German. Quite a disaster, if not downright sacrilegious in my opinion.) It is a pure joy to watch this sketch, same procedure as every year and I hope for many a repetition in the future.
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