My students all know by now that in the last lessons before Christmas I go on and on about ‘Dinner for One’!
Because it’s a German New Year’s tradition.
It started in 1963 when a German TV station recorded a short English theatre performance in Hamburg. They only gave a short German introduction and then showed the play in English. Played by comedians Freddie Frinton and May Warden, it is the story of Miss Sophie’s 90th birthday party. The introduction and the acting skills of Freddie Frinton as butler James and May Warden as Miss Sophie ensured that even those who did not understand any English knew what the story was about. Two sentences, which were repeated several times made this piece famous:
James:”The same procedure as last year, Miss Sophie?”
Miss Sophie:”The same procedure as every year, James!”
Since then it has been shown on German TV every New Year’s Eve. There have been attempts at different versions but the best is still the original version.
When I watch it with my students I find that it seems to have the same effect as Marmite – they either love it or can’t stand it!
What do you think? Do you love it or do you hate it?
Same procedure as last year? Same procedure as EVERY year!!!
Frohes Neues Jahr!
Happy New Year!
PS. EDIT 2022: I just found this old BBC video about The ‘Dinner for One’ Phenomenon
EDIT 2023: I found a website with the complete English transcript and the German translation