The 1st of April is April Fools’ Day in the UK (and in other parts of the world it is also celebrated). It is a time when pranks and practical jokes are played on people before midday. Newspapers run fake hoax stories and TV run programs trying to fool people. The trick is trying to spot the pranks from the reality. People who fall for the pranks and hoaxes are called “April Fools”. Newspapers reveal the following day which stories were hoaxes. A person playing a hoax after midday is the “April Fool” themselves.
My most successful April Fool joke
I enjoy April Fools’ Day and have played some very successful pranks on my professional colleagues in the past. One in particular that I played whilst at Deloitte stands out – but I won’t embarrass the ‘fools’ who fell for it here. Suffice to say I manage to convince some highly professional and qualified people that they may have to sit a further set of professional exams within a year or cease to practice. Some spotted it straight away but I also had emails and calls from panicking partners all morning, with one partner threatening to call the Government Minister to complain. I spent the entire morning laughing so hard it hurt. When I finally revealed the joke I had some more phone calls congratulating me on a well thought through joke and reminding me that ‘revenge was a dish best served cold’!
Historic UK April Fool Jokes
In 1698 several people were tricked into going to the Tower of London to “see the Lions washed”.
In 1957 the BBC’s Panorama (a serious current affairs program) reported on Swiss farmers picking freshly grown spaghetti from trees. Richard Dimbleby presented it adding weight to the authority of the story. The BBC were flooded with calls about how to obtain one resulting in one of the best practical jokes ever broadcast.
In 1965 the BBC once again fooled people into thinking it had conducted a trial into ‘smell-o-vision” allowing odours to be transmitted over the airwaves. Many viewers reported the success of the trial to the BBC. The BBC repeated this hoax online in 2007 and, in tribute to the BBC, Google repeated it in 2013.
In 1976 Sir Patrick Moore (an astronomer) told the listeners of BBC Radio 2 that a unique alignment of two planets would make people lighter that morning. Dozens fell for the joke phoning the BBC to tell them.
In 2008 the BBC reported on a newly discovered colony of flying penguins and ‘followed’ them flying from Antartica to the Amazon rainforest!
In 2014 Kings College, Cambridge released a YouTube video detailing their decision to discontinue the use of boy sopranos and instead use men who have inhaled Helium gas!
Google have played April Fool jokes every year since 2000. Wikipedia has a list of them all – some more impressive than others.
Wikipedia have had a ‘Mischievous Main Page’ since 2004. There is a fabulous list of “proposed deletions” and the reasons for them on their April Fools’ page.
UK April Fools’ Day 2016
The Guardian newspaper claimed the Royal Family was planning a dramatic intervention in the debate on whether the UK should stay in or leave the EU.
The Independent newspaper reported that Boris Johnson (Mayor of London) was planning on Tarmacing over Britain’s canals to create a nationwide cycle superhighway.
The Metro (free newspaper) reported Boris Johnson was planning hover boards for hire as he stepped down as Mayor of London.
The Daily Mail reported that the actor Olivia Coleman was to become the next 007, making her the first female Bond in history.
I am quite sure there will be more that will be revealed throughout the day and tomorrow.
Enjoy the fun of April Fools’ Day!