April 01, 2007

Stringing us along

Here's one of my most favourite bits of TV history. Exactly 50 years ago today, respected BBC current affairs programme Panorama broadcast this short agricultural piece.
The video quality is poor, but the real pleasure comes from Richard Dimbleby’s serious narration.

It was one of the UK’s most famous April Fools jokes, sprung at a time when Britons’ experience of food was restricted by rationing. The Beeb was heavily criticised, but many were taken in by it and asked the BBC where they could get their own spaghetti trees. The BBC drily suggested that one ought to place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.

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