For decades Butler James drank flower vase on German television – and the angel had no idea. Because "Dinner for One" is unknown on the island. It is changing now.
By Jens-Peter Marquardt, ARD Studio London
"Same procedure as every year, James!" It's English! Still, no one in England laughs at it. At least not yet. Different in Germany. Every year they laugh, even those who do not understand English at all. When Admiral von Schneider strikes his heels, Butler James beats the flower vase, stumbles over the tiger (or not), and Miss Sophie almost falls off the chair.
Ok, before it appears on German television, it is always an advertiser who already outlines the story in German: The 90th anniversary, everyone died and so on. Of course, you don't need this advertiser here in England. Sophie and James (at least while still sober) speak English, which is well understood by everyone from Dover to Inverness.
In addition, the plot is quite clear. And yet, dinner for one had never made it to British television. Also, no one here knows Miss Sophie, Butler James and her tiger. Freddie Frinton aka James is completely unknown even in her hometown of Grimsby.
After the war at the English seaside resorts
It used to be different. In the years after World War II, Freddie Frinton toured the English seaside resorts, and people laughed unhappy. Why back then? Why not today? Okay, after the war, the victorious, but the hungry English were not happy. They were glad it was something to laugh about again. And somehow also about the Germans, whether this admiral with the German name and the broken hoes, no British officer would ever get the idea to mislead himself this way.
Field Marshal "Monty" Montgomery has abandoned the collision for hacking at least the German enemies. Yes, back in the 1950s, Freddie Frinton was so popular at English stages that he had to fix the old tiger head all the time. The jacket was already scraped off after all the kicks. But at one point the British seaside resorts fell, and with them was the success of "Dinner for One" on their own land.
The competition is too big – and too rough
Probably the competition was just too big: Rowan Atkinson aka Mr. Bean and Captain Blackadder. Father's Army. Falwty Towers and Monty Python squad, who eventually sank Stephen Hawking and his wheelchair in the black hole. The brown humor of Little Britain. What is a drunken butler and a birthday without guests?
And yet: "Dinner for one" comes home. After more than 50 years, it is now on British television for the first time on German television, at 18.10 at Sky Arts. The people on the island can now practice being satisfied with a little and even laughing at it. Three months before Brexit.