Dinner for one is the story about an upper class senior citizen who hosts a dinner for her friends each year. Its popularity perhaps has to do with senior sex, a nutty old lady and lots of drinking.
There is no Dick Clark rocking New Years eve celebration in Germany, instead, it is customary to watch a television show “dinner for one” or Der 90 Geburtstag (The 90th Birthday) This obscene British comedy skit has made the Guinness Book of World records as the most repeated television show ever. Dinner for one has become a strange New year’s custom in Germany.
How did it come about that a 1963 British skit has become the preferred way to ring in the New Year by half the German population? Well perhaps it has something to do with the senior sex, a nutty old lady and lots of drinking. It is felt that the drinking is used as a backdrop for the playing of a drinking game on New Yeas eve. Nothing says Happy New Year in quite the same way as this does.
The show was introduced to Germany by a German entertainer, Peter Frankenfield in 1962. After discovering Dinner for one in England , he had the sketch performed live on his TV show in Germany. The black and white version of the skit played on New Year’s eve was recorded from a live performance in Hamburg in 1963. While the skit was played regularly on German networks, it really became a New Year’s eve fixture in 1972.
Dinner for one is the story about an upper class senior citizen who hosts a dinner for her friends each year. For her 90th birthday she has outlived her friends and her manservant has to play the role of all her friends by pretending to serve them individually and drink the spirits put before them. The catch phrase is “The same procedure as last year, Miss Sophie?” To which she responds “The same procedure every year James”.
As the dinner progresses and with each drink and cheer, James the butler becomes increasingly drunk and his antics get funnier as he tries to stay focused on the task at hand and steady on his feet. When the dinner is over, Miss Sophie indicates she wants to go to bed and an intoxicated asks, “The same procedure as last year, Miss Sophie? She happily responds, “The same procedure as every year, James!” To which James winks and says, “Well, I’ll do my very best!” as they head to the bedroom.
The show has also grown in popularity in other European countries but it remains a strange New Year tradition in Germany.