Dinner for One – The same procedure as every year?

dinner-for-one

We have some odd New Year’s traditions in our house.

I wear red underwear, because that’s what Italians do to welcome the New Year. They say it brings luck in the coming year, while my husband swears we have to eat black eye peas on New Year’s Day for luck and prosperity throughout the year ahead.

So far we haven’t done too badly in the luck department, what makes me think that either the red underwear or the legumes must be working; or maybe the magic is a combination of both.

Different countries have different rituals and traditions and we kept a few alive, not because we believe in it, but because we grew up with it. It’s a tribute to our roots and our families.

dinner for one 4

“Same procedure as every year?” that’s all I need to say and almost everybody in Europe, and many readers in South Africa and Australia, will know what I am talking about.

Watching this short British sketch from the 60’s is a tradition and I wouldn’t want to miss it, like Millions of other people all around the globe.

No telling why it is so special, or why it is used as THE New Year’s sketch all over the world. It has nothing to do with New Year at all, yet it became a New Year’s tradition throughout the world. Even though Dinner for One is -according to the Guinness Book of World Records- the most frequently repeated TV program ever, it has never been aired in the United Kingdom or the United States, and most of the English-speaking world is ignorant of its existence.

It is called “Dinner for One” or “The 90th Birthday.” It is in English and I watched it for the very first time when I was 12 or 13 years old. None of us spoke or understood English, but we knew what it was about, because a commentator had given an introduction in German. Not understanding really didn’t matter, because the story is pretty self-explaining.

dinner-for-one 2

Miss Sophie, an upper-class British lady, is celebrating her 90th birthday and she invited her best friends, Admiral Snyder, Mr. Winterbottom, Mr. Pommeroy and Sir Toby for dinner. There is only one problem…they are all dead, she has outlived all of them.

Her butler James manfully takes up the slack by playacting all of them. He serves both drinks and food while toasting on behalf of each “guest.” He waddles through the room, trips repeatedly over a tiger-pelt rug while serving the Miss Sophie. Each course begins with the same refrain:

“The same procedure as last year, madam?”

The same procedure as every year, James.”

dinner for one 5

Watching Dinner for one is an important part of my New Years evening and now my husband loves it as much as I do. It’s like watching A wonderful life every year on Christmas. It’s not like we don’t know that Clarence will get his wings and that George Bailey will adjust his attitude; we do know what will happen, but  it’s just not really Christmas without it.

I wish everybody a very happy and healthy New Year. May there be lots of laughter, lots of joy and peace.*

*Maybe I should change my name to The happy Dreamer.

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18 thoughts on “Dinner for One – The same procedure as every year?

  1. I sort of grew up with Freddie Frinton, the TV British comedian with the northern accent that always played his role as the drunk on his way home leaning on a lamp post and slurring in his speech. I was not exactly a fan, but he was part of british comedy life. Then I arrived in Switzerland, two years later married a Swiss and got to the Swiss Christmas tradition which included Dinner For One on the TV at Christmas every year. I was astonished, surprised, but it became part of my Xmas life in Switzerland and I even watch it. Freddie Frinton passed on many years ago and I remember reading once comments from his daughter that was so surprised to see how her father has become a Christmas icon in European countries.

    • I grew up with Dinner for One, it’s just a part of my tradition. I spent a lot of time in the UK in my 20’s and 30’s…I never understood why nobody there knew about it.

      It’s funny how it works isn’t it. My first sentence I could say in English was indeed “The same procedure as every year.”

  2. I have watched this short comedy many times. It still has its magic. A superb bit of fun and it never seems to fade. This year the local SBS channel hasn’t shown it. I searched the TV guide over and over but it was missing. Very sad!
    I wish all of you a good and happy New Year. ( if that’s possible without having watched “Dinner for one.”

  3. I’ve never heard of this film, but I’m glad you posted it. It’s adorable. I’ve also never heard of wearing red underwear (but the Japanese give money in a red envelope — I think? — luck on New Year’s… of course their New Year’s isn’t for another few weeks but that’s neither here nor there). I do try to eat black eyed peas on New Year’s but my hubs hates them so he won’t eat them. I love them… mmmm

    In The Southern USA (and around here it seems) people set off fireworks on New Years. It’s meant to scare off bad spirits… though I think they just use it as an excuse to blow stuff up. Some people, if it’s legal — and even if it’s not — will just fire their guns in the air to create loud noises (to scare off the evil spirits). My family has a slew of traditions for New Year’s that I haven’t followed in a while because of health reasons — most involve cleaning. ^_^

  4. Isn’t it strange how things become an accepted part of tradition? I am 62, have lived all my life in the UK and, whilst I’ve heard of this little film I’ve only ever seen clips from it in documentaries. Yet it is an essential part of the New Year in so many countries, even though it isn’t about New Year’s Eve. Odd, very odd! And as for the Italians and red underwear, my mind boggles! Happy New Year to you, in whichever language and tradition is best for you 😊

    • *Laughing here* Even long underware and boxer shorts come in red. It’s although something nobody can explain.

      At least you have heard of it…so that’s a big plus.

      English..it’s English now since over 30 years (even British English will do lol)

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