"Dinner For One" is a comedy skit produced by Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) in 1963. It runs only 18 minutes and it is very, very British. And yet it was only shown in full in Old Blighty in 2018. On the continent it is cult. Directed by Heinz Dunkhase and starring Freddy Finton as James the butler and May Warden as Miss Sophie, it centers around the latter character's 90th birthday, celebrated by herself and attended by her increasingly inebriated butler, who serves dinner and pours drinks in ever sloppier fashion, tripping over the head part of a tiger skin rug, and knocking back scores of drinks, as he stands in for the four invited-but-deceased dinner guests: Sir Toby, Admiral von Schneider, Mr. Pommeroy, and Mr. Winterbottom. A lot of toasts are raised, and James does his butlery duty and upholds the illusion by drinking on behalf of each of the deceased guests. "Same procedure as last year, Miss Sophie?", he slurs. "Same procedure as every year, James," she replies. The mark of true cult, this thing is shown every New Year's Eve in many European countries, in Denmark since 1973. It is the "Auld Lang Syne" of television, the most repeated program in all of television history. Just one more reason why 1963 was such a magical year.
..and why not?
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