Gray-haired furniture retailer Paul Winkelmann still has his dinner cooked and his laundry done by his mother. He spends his evenings playing Scrabble with Mama's friends and discussing the... See full summary »
Vicco von Bülow
Vicco von Bülow,
Extremly popular 1970s sitcom referring to many political and social issues through the eyes of an average German family. Alfred Tetzlaff is a narrow-minded, reactionary patriarch living ... See full summary »
Eduard, Otto and Heinz are identical triplets. Without knowledge of the others, the youngest of them uses an ad text of one brother and a melody of the other to compose a song for a ... See full summary »
Ingrid van Bergen
Eberhard Dobermann is a widower and a policeman who loves to control the roads and let people pay fines. Even with his neighbour and friend Jutta Schmalbach he has no pity. Thus he cannot ... See full summary »
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
The infamous tiger which the butler stumbles over several times wasn't originally in the sketch. It was added by request of a local mayor in a town the show was being played in. When Freddie Frinton stumbled over it by accident during a show it produced such a laughter among the audience that they decided to keep the tiger and make it a part of the show. 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 »
By the way... Same procedure as last year, Miss Sophie?
Same procedure as every year, James.
Well, I'll do my very best!
[They rush up the stairs to the bedroom]
See more »
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.
I thought it was time to add my contribution, and to refute a misconception.
Freddie Frinton is (was) my dad. I was 14 when he died.
The reviews and comments here are fantastic to read, and I know that dad would have been astounded by the ongoing appeal that the sketch has in Europe.....especially in Germany. Sadly, he died in 1968, still at the top of his game in this country, but without Dinner For One ever having been shown in its entirity in the UK.
Now for the clarification......I read here and elsewhere on the reviews that Freddie "did not like the Germans, or Germany", or that he "refused to speak German" ! This is not true, and our whole family are mystified as to how this rumour ever got started. Mum is in her 90's and my older sisters in their senior years, and they were with dad when he recorded the sketch in Germany. I remember waving them off as they all drove away, the car loaded with all the clothes and kit for the sketch....including the tiger skin.
They were all very excited about the recording, and going to Germany, and working with the Germans at NDR. None of us in the family ever heard dad say a bad word about Germans or Germany, and he worked there on at least three occasions. I have also read somewhere on this site that dad "hated the sketch at first and had to be persuaded to do it"....this is also untrue.
He LOVED doing Dinner For One, and did so from first seeing it, and of all the sketches he wrote or developed, this was the one he would always try to "fit" into whatever show he had signed-up for. Be it Panto or summer-season, or variety, he always wanted to find the 15 to 16 minutes in a show where he could show off his favourite work.
As a family, we are very proud of the sketch, and still enjoy watching it and hearing of other people's enjoyment.
None of us can resist saying to any German's we meet, whether here or abroad......." Hello, you don't know me, but you know my dad"......and EVERY time, they DO !.......It's priceless. Thanks, Mike.
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