Dinner for One, also known as The 90th Birthday, or by its corresponding German title, Der 90. Geburtstag, is a comedy sketch written by British author Lauri Wylie for the theatre in the 1920s. German television station Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) recorded a performance of the piece in 1963, in its original English language. This short comical play subsequently went on to become the most frequently repeated TV programme ever (according to the Guinness Book of Records, 1988-1995 eds.; later editions no longer have the category).
The 18 minute single take black-and-white 1963 TV recording featuring British comedians Freddie Frinton and May Warden has become an integral component of the New Year's Eve schedule of several German television stations, Danish national television and Swedish national television. It has also been a cult television classic in Germany, Norway, Finland, Faroe Islands and Austria: On New Year's Eve 2003 alone, the sketch was broadcast 19 times (on various channels). As of 2005, the sketch has been repeated more than 230 times. It is famous in other countries as well — including German-speaking Switzerland and South Africa. It is a New Year's Eve staple in Australia on the SBS network.
In 2003 the Danish TV producer Paul Anthony Sørensen produced and directed an international documentary about the sketch. In the documentary we meet the relatives of Freddie Frinton (the manservant James) and May Warden (Miss Sophie) and get to know the story behind the sketch. The documentary was nominated for the Rose d'Or 2004.
I saw this one year in Norway and never did find out why it was never shown in England. This is one of the funniest sketches around.
Thanks Jaqueline for the reminder.