Meet Dinner For One star Freddie Frinton, lead of the comedy loved in Germany
This year many people in Germany will indulge in an annual new-year tradition: tune into the British slapstick comedy, Dinner For One.
Despite its success in Europe, the film – and its star, Freddie Frinton – remain relatively unknown in Britain, and its only now getting its UK premiere despite being made in 1963.
The comedy is an unlikely cult hit, but has become embedded in annual German traditions, even earning itself the Guinness World Record for the most annually repeated show.
What is Dinner For One and who is Freddie Frinton? We take a look at the films lasting appeal.
What is Dinner For One?
Dinner for One was produced by German television station Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) in 1963 but used an English setting, script and cast.
In the 18 minute sketch, Freddie Frinton stars as the character of James, an elderly butler who serves an even more elderly lady on her 90th birthday.
Miss Sophie, played by May Warden, invites four friends to her dinner party seemingly unaware that they are all long dead.
Frintons character decides to save the day by stepping in, assuming the personas of all four dinner guests.
Each course is laden with alcohol and before each one is served Frinton quips same procedure as last year? to which Miss Sophie replies with an oft-quoted line, the same procedure as every year.
Who is Freddie Frinton?
Born in Grimsby in 1909, Frinton was a comedian and actor, best known for his role in Dinner For One as well as for his appearance in the BBC TV Series Meet the Wife which drew in millions of viewers every week.
Originally named Frederick Bittiner Coo, he worked as a fish filleter on Grimsbys fish docks before he got sacked for spending too much time entertaining his colleagues instead of working.
From here, he turned to comedy, performing in local pubs, clubs and music halls.
Depsite his overseas legacy, Frinton is not well-known in the UK, however, this could be set to change as Dinner for One is now to be shown in the UK for the first time, as part of the Scottish Comedy Film Festivals Slapstick Weekend.
His son Mike told the BBC: Germany, and a large part of Europe, have been enjoying Dinner for One as an annual New Year treat for nearly half a century, and it makes us so proud that, finally, this perfect example of comedy timing can be appreciated over here.
Dad would have been humbled to find himself in such illustrious comedy company.
Freddie Frinton passed away in 1968 aged just 53.
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