Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Dinner for none?

The way countries view each other can often be a mystery, especially when the reference point is not recognised in one nation. Much of Europe associates Brits with a TV play called Dinner for One (1963). It's an integral part of New Year in Germany and Denmark, but is unknown here. The skit stars May Warden as a rich old lady whose butler, Freddie Frinton, has to stand in for her dead friends at her 90th birthday dinner.

Despite featuring British character actors, it's a German TV production, which may explain its lack of celebrity this side of the Channel. The piece was discovered playing Blackpool in 1962 and presumably appealed because it is near silent - the butler is a tottering drunk by the end as he tries to fulfill his role. Nearly 50 years on, New Year - and Britain - without it would be unthinkable for many Europeans.

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