Panorama Spaghetti Hoax
The 1st of April 1957 AD
In 1957 the BBC was a much stuffier place than it is today, although it already worshipped at the Dimbleby altar in the form of the distinguished war reporter and broadcasting pioneer Richard Dimbleby . And Panorama, the current affairs programme which first aired in 1953 and had been fronted regularly by Dimbleby since 1955 was a serious forum for investigative journalism. No wonder then that so many were fooled by its celebrated spaghetti hoax broadcast on April Fool’s Day 1957.
On that date the programme included an article about the spaghetti harvest in Italy; detailing the worries of the farmers who feared bad weather could ruin the crop from their spaghetti bushes; and noting the consistent length of the spaghetti was the product of selective plant-breeding over many years.
Apparently some viewers contacted the BBC seeking information on where they could buy spaghetti bushes. Some, however, were outraged at the use of humour on such a show. You pays your licence fee and takes your choice. But for anyone with a sense of the ridiculous it is surely something in our broadcasting history we should cherish dearly.
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