My guess is, if you are from the UK, the US or virtually anywhere in the world, you have no idea what I am on about. Freddie who?
The irony is that the most frequently repeated TV programme ever (according to the Guinness Book of Records) is a British sketch that is totally unknown outside a select few countries (which doesn't include the UK), and features actors are unheard-of even in their native land.I first came across the sketch, "Dinner for One", many years ago when I lived in Germany. My colleagues at the time could not believe I had never heard of it before because it is an absolute institution in that country.
Just in case you too are ignorant of this 1963 comedy classic, it's about the 90th birthday dinner party of Miss Sophie (played by Warden). Due to her advanced age, all the guests invited to her annual party are long deceased, so it's left to her old butler James (Frinton) to pretend to be her departed friends. The "comedy" is provided by the fact that James has to go around emptying the glasses of the non-existent guests, resulting in him becoming increasingly intoxicated and erratic. At regular intervals, he asks Miss Sophie: "same procedure as last year?"; to which, she replies: "same procedure as every year!"
This is hardly comedy gold in my opinion, but it hasn't stopped German TV broadcasting it in the original English language every New Year's Eve for decades. It's so well known in Germany that the "same procedure" catchphrase is even part of every day vocabulary, to the same extent that "don't mention the war" is in the UK.
Now, until this Christmas, I had always assumed that this obsession with an obscure old largely unfunny British sketch was just one of those uniquely German idiosyncrasies, similar the inexplicable love of David Hasselhoff's music.
But it turns out Dinner for One is also broadcast on New Year's Eve in Finland every year, under name Illallinen yhdelle. Further research on the net revealed to me that the sketch is also shown in a few other countries, most notably in Scandinavia where attempts to end the yearly broadcast tradition were met with a deluge of complaints from viewers.
Anyhow, for your enjoyment (or not), here's a version with Finnish subtitles (this is a blog about Finland after all).
What do you think? Do you find it funny? Do you watch it every year on TV?