This is not a bad joke: Ben has never heard about Dinner for One. The sketch, which is a cult in Switzerland, is not known in the UK. It is even more weird if you know that the author of Dinner for One, Laurie Wylie, is British, and the whole transmission is in English and not in German.
I pitty Ben a bit: he has never in his life laughed about the jokes by the British comedian Freddie Frinton and his partner Mary Warden (who lived in London until she died in 1978). A British actress.
Do you remember this one?
“I’ll kill that cat!” After James has drunk by mistake out of a vase. Ok, it’s not funny if you don’t know the sketch. Watch it!
Or this dialogue which is repeated five times. It is a running gag in Switzerland:
„The same procedure as last year, Miss Sophie?“ She answers: „The same procedure as every year, James“.
Dinner for one has been a fixed point in the agenda for Swiss people every new year’s eve since 1963. It confuses me even more that Brits don’t know it since I’ve found out that Dinner for One is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary. Brits have probably only one intention on new years eve: getting drunk. I bet that the alcohol consumption is double than in Switzerland on this evening.
Yes, it is very curious that Table for One is virtually unknown in Britain. It hasn’t been broadcast in Britain for 30 years and has never been broadcast in America or Canada.
But it is equally surprising to me that The Sound of Music, a musical set in the alps and many British childrens’ introduction to Switzerland (the end of the film is set there), is unknown to Sonja yet almost every Brit knows its songs by heart.