Film that began in Blackpool gets UK premiere at last

An iconic short film with origins in Blackpool will get its UK premiere this weekend.

Friday, 23rd November 2018, 11:45 am
Updated Friday, 23rd November 2018, 11:50 am
Dinner for one, starring Freddie Frinton, began life as a stage sketch that was first performed in Blackpool. Picture courtesy of the Frinton family

Dinner for One, starring comedian Freddie Frinton, was released in 1963 and has become on the most repeated programmes ever due to its popularity in Germany and Scandinavia, where it is shown every New Year’s Eve.

Made by a German TV company the film, it features Frinton as James the butler to Miss Sophie, who is celebrating her 90th birthday.

“What many people don’t know is that Dinner for One, which is one of the most popular TV shows in Germany and Scandinavia, began life as a stage sketch that had its first ever performance in Blackpool in 1945,” explains Mike Frinton, one of Freddie’s sons.

He will be attending the first UK screening of the film at the Scottish Comedy Film Festival this weekend.

Mike added: “Dad went on to perform it many times in the town over the years, and indeed Blackpool was one of the places he performed most often in a many different shows.”

Born in Grimsby, Frinton made his name as a Music Hall performer, but came to broader fame through Meet the Wife, the 1960s BBC TV series in which he starred as the hen-pecked husband alongside Thora Hurd, and which gained such status as to be referenced by the Beatles in their song Good Morning, Good Morning.

Frinton died of a heart attack in 1969, at the age of just 59, and did not live to see the international success of his Dinner for One.

The short film will be screened twice at the Scottish Comedy Film Festival’s Slapstick Weekend, in Double Bills this evening, with Buster Keaton’s The General, and on Sunday afternoon with the Marx Bros Duck Soup.

Mike Frinton, one Frinton’s five children, will be there for the screenings.

He said: “We, as family, are delighted that Campbeltown Picture House will be the first UK cinema to screen the legendary Dinner for One and that Freddie Frinton’s comedy genius will be celebrated as part of the nationwide BFI season.

“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 be in such illustrious comedy company.”