"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Monday, December 24, 2007

The same procedure as every year

Germans are not considered in the international lexicon of stereotypes as great humorists - they are however on the eve of taking the piss from the Brits big style.

Every New Year's Eve, a brief (11 mins) Black and white movie featuring Freddie Frinton as an inebriate Butler in "Dinner for One" is aired on German TV to an audience of millions and has been since 1972.

The short 1963 stage comedy sketch, has entered the record books as the world's most repeated television show (230 airings and counting in 2005). A prototype (or even archetype) Mr Bean as a squiffy butler represents the fading aristocratic colonialists lurching from year to year, unchanging and changeless.

Broadcast with its original English soundtrack, it is brilliant in its simplicity: Miss Sophie, celebrating her 90th birthday, sits down to dinner with four friends and is served by her faithful butler, James (Frinton).

There is however a problem. None of the old dear's guests — Sir Toby, Admiral Von Schneider, Mr Pommeroy and Mr Winterbottom — are there, they are dead. So it's down to James to hop from chair to chair and fill in for Miss Sophie's enigmatic erstwhile suitors.

Before every course and its accompanying splash of booze, the rapidly declining butler slurs: "The same procedure as last year, Miss Sophie?" And his aged employer replies: "The same procedure as every year, James." - which has entered the Tuetonic phrase book as a line producing great hilarity.

The German airline LTU shows it on all its New Year flights, and Dinner for One is now compulsive viewing from Austria to Australia - but amazingly never in the UK.

When the Daily Telegraph enquired last year, the haughty response from the BBC Press office was "I've never heard of it," ..and ... "I guess the nearest thing we have that you might call a New Year's Eve television tradition is the Jools Holland's show."

For Frinton, the illegitimate son of a Grimsby seamstress, and long forgotten music hall comedian his legacy is destined to live on anywhere but home.

This is the short (11 min) version from swiss TV in 1964.

Wikipedia has a lengthy and informative entry on the subject


Philip said...

This could be funnier then the Dead Parrot sketch.

Ekk said...

I've had great fun playing this to visiting friends over the last couple of days. LOL
Much appreciated, great laughs, wunderbar.

George Dutton said...

I didn`t find it funny at all for just one reason...I am old enough to remember Freddie Frinton.

(C) Very Seriously Disorganised Criminals 2002/3/4/5/6/7/8/9 - copy anything you wish