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Dinner for One PDF
Saturday, 01 January 2011 11:00

Celebrated my first ever New Year’s Eve in Germany last night. Dinner for One, Raclette and Niagara! For me it was the first time for all three! Oh, and then at midnight came the fireworks!

Dinner for One is an English theatrical sketch featuring actors Freddie Frinton and May Warden, which has gained a cult following in Germany since it was first aired there in 1963.  Since 1972 it has been broadcast every New Year’s Eve and has even spawned versions in German, it is so popular.

Totally unknown in the UK, the 18-minute playlet, originally written in the 1920s, revolves around the dinner to celebrate the 90th birthday of Miss Sophie, with her closest friends Sir Toby, Admiral von Schneider, Mr Pommeroy and Mr Winterbottom, waited on by her faithful butler, James. Trouble is the four dinner guests are long dead, a fact of which Miss Sophie seems to be unaware.

As a result, James waits on his employer and her four “guests” serving them with food and wine, and having to play the parts of the four dead friends to humour her. As a result he gets increasingly drunk.

The humour is largely visual, with elements of slapstick, and is successful largely because of Frinton’s impeccable comic timing. I’d never seen the sketch before, and it was brilliant! (See below to watch it!)

Then it was time for Raclette. This is a method of griddling meat and vegetables, while at the same time melting a special cheese over small pieces of tomato, mushroom, sweetcorn, etc, contained in your own individual little “pans”, using a Swiss-invented device called a Raclette.  Reminiscent of the informality of fondue, where you cook your own food, it’s a bit like an indoor barbecue. Delicious!

After dinner we played Niagara, a board game, where each player has two boats in which to collect precious stones from the riverbank, whilst trying to avoid going over the Niagara falls. Good fun, but somewhat demanding after two large beers and several glasses of wine!

Nevertheless we made it through to midnight, resuscitated by double helpings of Eppel Krumpel and then enjoyed the spectacular if noisy sight of thousands of fireworks lighting up the sky as we entered 2011!

© Paul Whitelock

Click here to watch Dinner for One

Tags: New Year’s Eve, Dinner for One, Raclette, Niagara, Freddie Frinton, May Warden, Miss Sophie, Sir Toby, Admiral von Schneider, Mr Pommeroy, Mr Winterbottom, James, fondue, Paul Whitelock,



Paul Whitelock

Paul is a Joint Honours graduate in Spanish and German, a qualified teacher (PGCE) and has a Member of the Institute of Linguists (MIL) qualification.

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