What the world is watching on TV on New Year’s Eve

Germany is a television country. The average German ended up with a total of 213 minutes per day in 2021, with a stable trend. Therefore, it is not surprising that people in this country like to look inside the subway on New Year’s Eve. No TV show has achieved cult status like “Dinner for One.”

For 50 years, the eternally ninety-born Miss Sophie and her butler James have been on the screens of the republic on time on December 31. Even Google has skipped the ritual and has dedicated a tribute to the short strip, which is revealed by entering “Dinner for One” in the search engine and clicking on the tiger’s head.

But Germany is not alone with its hype. In addition to Austria and Switzerland, sketching is part of the daily routine of many families in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Estonia and Luxembourg, and to a lesser extent in South Africa and Australia. Only in the country of origin, Great Britain itself, was it almost forgotten. In 2018, the dinner made its way to private broadcaster Sky Arts, but was dropped from the New Year’s schedule in 2020.

Vodka poisoning brings change of residence

To find a New Year’s Eve movie that can even come close to matching this international success, we have to look east. Because in the Soviet Union they made their own cult comedy. “Irony of Fate” (Ирония судьбы) is the name of the two-part play, which impresses with its three-hour duration.

A group of men ring in the new year with copious amounts of vodka in a Moscow banya. In the poisoning, there is a mix-up, so the wrong bachelor flies back to Leningrad and looks for his Moscow apartment there. Thanks to the same streets, the same prefab buildings and the same locks, he manages to get into the same furnished apartment of a woman he doesn’t know and the two finally fall in love. To this day, the film enjoys great popularity in many countries of the former Eastern Bloc.

Team Red: Singers of the Japanese pop group “Momoiro Clover Z” before the annual “Kōhaku” competition.
© imago/Kyodo News

In addition to short and feature film shows, many countries offer a mix of entertainment and music programs. The Japanese take it to the extreme: “Kōhaku” has been around since 1951. The New Year’s Special consists of a contest that pits the most popular singers of the year (Red Team) against the most popular singers (White Team). Current standings: 39 to 33 for the red team.

What all these New Years traditions have in common is that they end just before midnight on time. Because for all the fun of TV, analog is still the best.

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Hayden Sherman

"Bacon nerd. Extreme zombie scholar. Hipster-friendly alcohol fanatic. Subtly charming problem solver. Introvert."

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