On April 1, 1957 BBC broadcast a spoof documentary as a joke for April Fools Day. The program showed a family from Ticino, Switzerland gathering their annual crop of spaghetti. The women on the footage were picking spaghetti directly from a tree and placing them down in order to dry them in the sun.
The program was meant to be funny although it failed to be perceived as such. Some viewers felt insulted by it and pointed out the channel was supposed to air serious factual programs instead of spoofs. Others were so interested in the opportunity to harvest their own spaghetti which resulted in BBC being flooded with calls regarding where those spaghetti bushes could be purchased.
In the 1960s spaghetti wasn’t a very popular, or available for that matter, food in the UK and was considered somewhat of a delicacy. Therefore people’s interest in planting their own spaghetti-bearing plants was quite understandable.
BBC’s spaghetti spoof is believed to be the first time a media used its resources to play an April Fools Day joke on its viewers.