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April Fool
April fool

Putting a fake story in newspapers and broadcast news on 1 April each year has a long and honourable history.

According to a 2002 study of such hoaxes by Alex Boese, a 1957 spoof by the respected BBC news programme Panorama tops the list of all-time greats. With his characteristic genial gravitas, presenter Richard Dimbleby reported that thanks to a mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. Hundreds of viewers rang in asking how to grow the trees and were advised ‘place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best’ (BBC, 2002). In fact, cameraman Charles de Jaeger, while working on another story, had draped ...

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