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the history of fools

With April fool’s day and the ‘launch’ of our mangoes and marmite smoothie behind us, we thought it time to honour the pioneers of the April fool’s broadcast and doff our caps to Dickie Dimbleby and his report on the bumper spaghetti harvest in southern Switzerland. This 1957 BBC program is thought to be the first time that TV was used to broadcast an April fool’s hoax and it generated a massive response from many confused viewers.

The piece came in the ‘and finally’ section on an episode of Panorama, with the much respected anchor explaining how an unusually mild winter and the "virtual disappearance of the spaghetti weevil" had led to a bumper crop of fresh spaghetti. His words were accompanied by video footage of a Swiss family harvesting the spaghetti from trees.

Hundreds of viewers got in touch with requests to settle arguments between husband and wife (chaps believed Mr Dimbleby’s words, their ladies knew better). Other viewers asked how to grow their own spaghetti trees, to which the BBC replied "place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best".