Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The same procedure as every year

Some of my readers (Udge, for example) will have divined from the title what this post is to be about. The rest of you will have to wait a moment or two.

Hands up if you remember Freddie Frinton. For a Brit younger than me, don't bother: you won't. he was a comic who died in 1968. For my generation, he had a brief flowering of fame in a TV sitcom with Thora Hird entitled Meet The Wife. Ah, there go a few hands.

So how is it that Freddie Frinton is a household name in Scandinavia, and in German-speaking Europe? Well, a few years before he died, he recorded a sketch called Dinner For One, which is officially (according to the Guinness Book of Records) the most-repeated television programme of all time. It is shown on New Year's Eve in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, on several channels, every year. In Scandinavia it is shown on 23 December. In Britain, meanwhile, it has never been screened at all.

Here is the Wikipedia entry for the programme, and here is the programme itself (the full 18 minute version as generally shown).

I'm not sure what amazes me more: that a programme which is so incredibly popular abroad has never been shown in Britain, or that an 18 minute film, in English, without subtitles or dubbing, became - and remains - a cult hit in Germany and Scandinavia. How much interest would there be, do you think, in Britain for a similar sketch, even one in colour and less dated, if it were recorded in German and given no dubbing or titles? I can tell you, it wouldn't even get one showing. I'm prepared to bet that I've had visitors who took one look at my recent video posts of France Gall and Sarek and bailed out because they were in French / Swedish with no translation provided. (But you see, here at EKN we have faith in the intelligence, curiosity and persistence of our readers.)


At 23 December, 2007 23:39, Blogger Udge said...

Now available on DVD, folks! Send in your orders here!!

I couldn't believe it either. The first time I DFO, I thought that it must be an elaborate joke at my expense: why do they all want to watch this again?

At 24 December, 2007 03:46, Blogger Rob said...

Well, it is an accomplished piece of comic business, though very dated in style. It reminds me very much of one of the late great Michael Bentine's (audio-only) sketches, The Toast-Master, in which the eponymous MC has to propose toasts to a large number of difficult-to-pronounce dignitaries, and becomes gradually more and more drunk. Bentine, of course, was in a class of his own.


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