Dinner for Nine-One-One

It had been a fantastically prolonged day during Goodwood Festival of Speed, when my German colleagues and we sat down for a well-deserved drink. With a sound of engines still toll in a ears, we chatted about a peculiarities of English splash not always being as cold as it should be and how good a UK can be when it’s not indeed raining.

Before long, a review incited to a differences between German and British humour and we mentioned that we suspicion a relations of cave competence have been behind a blueprint that is shown on German TV over a gratifying period. It was usually an aside, as it wasn’t something I’d unequivocally suspicion about many before, though it brought a gibberish to a halt. 

Suddenly, half a list – a German half – began banishment questions. “Do we mean Dinner for One?” asked one. “I adore that show!” smiled another. “It’s like a New Year’s Eve institution,” pronounced a co-worker to my right. “I watched it any year as a child and it was definitely an arise a initial time we watched with my possess daughter.” “What do we meant a relations wrote it?” asked another, astonished. “How can we not know for sure?” came a call from a distant finish of a table. 

Dinner for One, United Archives/Siegfried Pilz

While a British strait looked ever some-more bemused, a friends from Zuffenhausen started quoting it to any other, recounting their favourite pieces and dissolving into fits of laughter. Then came a chiding for my carrying never watched it, along with unequivocally organisation instructions that we should learn more, and find out for certain if my relations had created it.

Although a night finished late, we couldn’t get a review out of my mind and so we began, as one does, with a mark of light Googling. we shortly detected some flattering unusual things about Dinner for One – an 18 notation black and white sketch, achieved in English, about a 90th birthday celebration of a elegant Miss Sophie.

Dinner of One is a many steady radio uncover of all time

For those unknown with a plot, during a march of a dusk Miss Sophie’s servant James acts out a roles of long-dead friends, with many of a comedy entrance as he gets some-more and some-more sozzled, being compulsory to splash toasts while personification any unbroken guest. What unequivocally outlines it out is that it has been promote on German radio on any singular New Year’s Eve given 1972, with opposite channels display it during opposite times of a day so that nobody need skip it. It is also on Austrian, Swiss, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish TV. Every year. Indeed, it binds a Guinness World Record as a many steady radio uncover of all time. Millions on millions of people watch it and it has so entered a inhabitant alertness that Angela Merkel has quoted from it in a speech. A travesty chronicle was available featuring her and President Macron of France, and there is even one in that a whole thing is charcterised regulating LEGO figures. 

I was gratified to find out that there is a celebration diversion connected to it too – and nonetheless it is substantially unheard of in a English-speaking world.

This is substantially because it takes a bit of homework, and some email exchanges with a family historians among my relatives, to endorse that Dinner for One was indeed created by my good uncle, whose theatre name was Lauri Wylie though who was innate Maurice Samuelson. 

Further investigate reveals that Lauri was a comedian during a initial decades of final century, who also wrote a “books”, as they were called, for song gymnasium sketches and some plays, including one co-written with a definitely smashing PG Wodehouse. 

He also worked on a few of a wordless films of GB Samuelson – his hermit and my grandfather – who was one of a unequivocally initial pioneers of a British film industry. Sadly, Lauri died before Dinner for One became famous, and prolonged before we was born, though it done me consider that a highway outing was in order, to lane a small bit of his, and Dinner for One’s story.

As we am a long-time Porsche enthusiast, and saying as it was my Porsche colleagues who had started me on this small quest, it seemed suitable to start during a marque’s executive London home, in Mayfair – usually around a dilemma from my good uncle’s Theatreland stomping ground. This is where we met adult with eminent automotive photographer Mark Fagleson, who would be my co-pilot on a journey. Our initial stop was during a Prince of Wales Theatre, where Dinner for One was initial achieved in 1934. 

As we picked a approach by 2019 London’s awful traffic, we could, for a initial time, feel a echoes of my good uncle’s footsteps. Lauri had prolonged ago achieved on these aged stages and, notwithstanding a acres of splendid promotion hoardings that are there now, would recognize a grand aged buildings behind them.

From there, we forked a nose of a 911 northwards, towards to a county of Lancashire, where Lauri was innate and where, unconditionally coincidentally, we live today.

Lauri died childless and in misery in 1951 and indeed was not innate into good wealth, carrying grown adult above his parents’ tobacconist in a strand city of Southport. There is a board there on a wall of what is currently an entertainment arcade, commemorating where my grandfather was born, so that felt like where we should be headed. But first, a brief stop during home in a Forest of Bowland, allows a bit some-more delving into a family archives, and for me to learn a bit of a turn in a tail of this tale.

My friends from Porsche and we had come into this by deliberating because this many English of comedies works so good in Germany. There are a lot of articles online that discuss because this competence have been so – though it turns out that Lauri had German roots. Reading adult on my family tree, his father (my good grandfather) was innate in what was afterwards Prussia, usually emigrating in a 1840s and finale up, around a brief stay in Dublin, in 41 Nevill Street, Southport, a final end of Fagelson’s and my small Porsche highway trip.

I still haven’t seen Dinner for One, as we shall be examination it for a initial time on New Year’s Eve, starting a new Anglo-German tradition with my mother and children. We will lift a potion to my good uncle, and to a excellent folk from Zuffenhausen who’ve introduced us to a joys of this extraordinary black and white blueprint . As a servant said, “Cheerio, Miss Sophie …”


Text: Ben Samuelson


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