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
Several versions of this sketch were recorded/broadcast or released on DVD/video:
the original B&W version with an audience as produced by Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) in 1963. 18 minutes
a changed B&W version where an english spelling error in the intro narration was digitally removed. Shown on German TV since the end of the 90s.
a changed B&W version without the audience sound. Shown by Danish TV who also omit the introductory narration, bringing the sketch to a 14 minutes runtime
a computer colorized version produced by the NDR in 1999. Due to massive protest from fans this version is almost never shown
an alternative B&W version as produced by Swiss TV. This version has no intro narration and misses some gags. This version can be recognized by the much simpler set decoration (no table cloth, smaller/simpler pictures on the walls, much smaller stairs). Released on DVD in Germany. 11 minutes.
Every evening on the new years eve is a very special television event in Germany. It's called "Dinner for One". It tells the very funny story of an old lady called Sophie who celebrates her 90th Birthday. Her butler James represents Sophie's friends which have died long years ago. During the meal with various courses the butler has always drink to the old lady and he has to play all the deceased persons. At the end of the sketch the butler is totally drunken. The sketch was founded in England at the beginning of the 60s. But it was surprisingly no success there. It runs since 35 years in Germany and it belongs to the most popular television shows here.
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