Dinner for One (1963)

TV Short  |   |  Short, Comedy
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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 ... See full summary »


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Title: Dinner for One (1963– )

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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 Simon Slade

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Comedy





Release Date:

May 1963 (Switzerland)  »

Also Known As:

Der 90. Geburtstag  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Banned in Sweden until 1969 due the massive alcohol consumption. See more »


Version of Dinner for one - up Platt (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

The same procedure as every year
31 December 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I hadn't heard of this short film a couple of hours ago, then there was an item on BBC Radio Four about how just about everybody in Germany watched it every New Years Eve. None of the British contributors found it remotely amusing but they did say it was on YouTube and that it was only ten minutes long... given that information I had to check it out for myself! Having seen it I'm surprised that it is considered a classic anywhere but equally it wasn't that bad either. The plot is simple; the elderly Miss Sophie is hosting a dinner party for her four friends... the joke is that none of them are present! As the dinner progresses James the butler serves each course to Miss Sophie then pours drinks for everybody and takes the part of each person in turn to return Miss Sophie's toasts with inevitable results.

There are chuckles to be had as Freddie Frinton's James gets increasingly drunk although however the gag about him tripping over the tiger skin rug is rather spoilt by the fact that he tripped over it before he'd touched a drop! The rather suggestive ending was clearly meant to be funny but just seemed creepy to me. This was interesting to watch as a curiosity but it certainly won't become a tradition for me.

I have since learnt that there are two versions made the same year with the same cast; this is the Swiss version; there is also a longer German version with a German narration, presumably that is the version they watch!

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