A ninety-year-old lady, a butler, a handful of invisible guests and a tiger – the perfect ingredients for a very British New Year’s tradition. Or so we Germans think …
Picture a German chatting with a Brit towards the end of the year. At some point, the former is bound to mention the words ‘Dinner for One’, excited expectation oozing from her eyes. In view of the other person’s quizzical face (as his sole association with ‘dinner for one’ is, very literally, convenience food), cues such as ‘Mr Winterbottom’, ‘Mulligatawny soup’ or ‘skol’ (accompanied by a clicking of heels) will be exclaimed in increasing desperation. Alas, to the poor German’s utter disbelief, she will have to come to terms with the fact that the majority of natives from ‘the island’, as Great Britain is occasionally referred to around here, are entirely unfamiliar with the sanctum of (almost) every German person’s New Year’s Eve: the above-mentioned short English theatre play, adapted for television and broadcast, unlike most other foreign-language audiovisual material (see this entry), in the original language next to hourly on most public German TV channels on 31st December every year.
‘Dinner for One’ is an approximately 20-minute sketch written by English comedian Lauri Wylie, which premiered on London stages in 1948. The ‘German’ version of the play, including a German introduction to explain the goings-on, was performed by English actors Freddie Frinton and May Warden at a recording studio in Germany and produced by the German public broadcaster NDR. It first aired in 1963 and soon became a classic – by now apparently also in various other countries, including Australia.
So, dear non-Germans, if you haven’t seen it, check it out on German telly next Wednesday! Or, if your German is pretty unshakable, try the just-too-delightful Hessian version.
The same procedure next week … We’re wrapping up the year with a rather contemplative question.
Happy New Year, everyone!
The Pommes Buddha says: I’ll do my very best!