COMEDY: DINNER for ONE

The Menu

Mulligatawny Soup (with sherry)
Haddock (with white wine)
Chicken (with Champagne)
Fruit (with port)

– Little drop of soup, Miss Sophie?
– I am particularly fond of mulligatawny soup*, James…I think we’ll have sherry with the soup.
– Sherry with the soup? Yes… oh, by the way, the same procedure as last year, Miss Sophie?
– Same procedure as every year, James.

Dinner for one also known as The 90th Birthday, or by its corresponding German title, Der 90. Geburtstag, is a comedy sketch written by British author Lauri Wylie for the theatre in the 1920s. German television station Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) recorded a performance of the piece in 1963, in its original English language. This short comical play subsequently went on to become the most frequently repeated TV programme ever (according to the Guinness Book of Records, 1988-1995 eds.; later editions no longer have the category). Wikipedia

The 18 minute black-and-white 1963 TV recording features the British comedians Freddie Frinton and May Warden. In many countries New Year, without Dinner for One, would be like Christmas without It’s A Wonderful Life! The German airline LTU shows it on all its New Year flights, and Dinner for One recently ventured across the border to Austria, where it has become compulsive annual viewing. (The Daily Telegraph online)

Everywhere where it is regularly televised, it has become a cult, and translated into many languages, including Latin:

Ceterum, domina, iubesne me sequi eandem rationem procedendi atque anno superiore? – Same procedure as last year, milady? (BBC online)?


This sketch is absolutely hysterically funny, methinks. Rii

* Recipe for the Mulligatawny Soup is in this link.

“Literally meaning pepper water. Mulligatawny Soup is an Anglo-Indian invention. Created by servants for the English Raj who demanded a soup course from a cuisine that had never produced one. You can make this soup a day ahead and you can add chicken pieces in the soup as well.” (All Recipes online)

Haddock and other fish pictures.
Dinner for One BBC link.
Transcript for the dialogue between Miss Sophie and James.
Even a Quizz on the Dinner for One.

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4 Responses

  1. This is most interesting. Although the sketch rings a bell with me, I can’t remember actually seeing it. But ‘most frequently repeated TV Programme’ sounds a bit dubious to me. Surely that would be Dad’s Army or Only Fools and Horses?

  2. Hei Simonelli

    Thanks ever so much for this fine comment of yours on this entry.
    Well, that’s what it said; regarding the ‘most repeated TV programme’!
    Have a grand 2008. Rii 🙂

    PS.
    I really liked the Dad’s Army. – “No panic, Mr Mannering!” –

  3. Thank-you so much – I have acted the part of James before but never seen the video. Although I know the script by heart (as too must the German public!), I laughed till I cried on seeing Freddie Frinton’s original. Thank-you again.
    Very best wishes – John

  4. Hei there John

    Thank you ever so much for leaving this great comment.
    And brilliant that this tickled your funny bone as well as it did mine!! lol
    Keep so well and safe. Rii 🙂

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