Spring has well and truly sprung here in Wales, bringing with it bright yellow daffodils, gambolling lambs and scorching sunshine. And what’s more, it’s still not even April! Don’t forget to look out for the inevitable April Fools’ stories in our national newspapers this Sunday. Below is a selection of my favourite examples from the last few years.
In 2011 the Daily Express revealed a new product known as a ‘Micro Zimmer’, a scooter-style wheeled Zimmer frame. It conjures up visions of pensioners tearing up the streets on skateboards, Back to the Future-style. The Independent chose to scam us with a sports story, reporting that Portugal had ‘sold’ the footballer Cristiano Ronaldo to Spain for the princely sum of €160 million, in an attempt to clear some of the nation’s €12 billion debt.
Also last year, notoriously anti-monarchist paper The Guardian launched their live Royal Wedding blog, claiming that it would post real-time updates as the preparations unfolded. As plausible as that sounded, given the public’s appetite for the undisputed event of the year, I think it was the leaking of the Queen’s intention to present the happy couple with Tupperware as their wedding gift that really gave the game away. And in advertising, BMW unveiled their Royal Wedding-inspired M3 series, in Regal red, Imperial blue and Bridal white. The giveaway? The contact email address: firstname.lastname@example.org!
In 2010 the Daily Telegraph revealed that Virgin Media had been using specially trained ferrets to install underground cables. The Daily Mail, meanwhile, tried to convince its readers that the AA would start issuing James Bond-style jetpacks to its mechanics, in order for them to get to breakdowns more quickly.
So have we become more gullible in recent years? Well back in 1957, when April Fools’ jokes were less commonplace and BBC presenters were widely revered for always telling the truth, Panorama (then presented by Richard Dimbleby) ran a feature on how the Swiss harvested spaghetti from trees; the BBC was consequently inundated with hundreds of letters from viewers asking where they could get their own spaghetti trees. When will we learn?!