April Fool's Day Content
April Fool's Day Content
April Fool Categories
April Fool: Recurring Pranks
April Fool: Regions
April Fool: Perpetrators
April Fool's Day Archive, Contents:
|Before 1900:||Origin of April Fool's Day | 1700-1799 | 1800-1899|
|Early 1900s:||1900 | 1901 | 1915 | 1919 | 1920 | 1923 | 1925|
|1930s & 40s:||1933 | 1934 | 1936 | 1937 | 1938 | 1940 | 1949|
|1950s & 60s:||1950 | 1957 | 1959 | 1960 | 1962 | 1965 | 1969|
|1970s:||1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1973 | 1974 | 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979|
|1980s:||1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989|
|1990s:||1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999|
|2000s:||2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009|
|2010s:||2010 | 2011|
British April Fool's Day Hoaxes
British April Fool's Day Hoaxes
Whistling Carrots (2002)
The British supermarket chain Tesco published an advertisement in The Sun announcing the successful development of a genetically modified 'whistling carrot.' The ad explained that the carrots had been specially engineered to grow with tapered airholes in their side. When fully cooked, these airholes caused the vegetable to whistle.
Sky Becoming Less Blue (2001)The British Mail on Sunday announced that the sky was becoming less blue. It cited a five-year study conducted at the Koenraad University in Amsterdam which had used special digital cameras and color charts to measure subtle shifts in the sky's color. The study's researchers had found that the "'coefficient of blueness'... has drastically diminished in five years from 9.3 per cent in 1996 to just 6.9 per cent this year." They attributed this color change to the effects of air pollution and the depleting ozone layer. The article explained, "Particles of airborne pollution are thought to be creating a thick blanket of dirty grey." This blanket of pollution was preventing the 'scattering' of sunlight as it passed through the atmosphere, causing the sky to darken. Astronomer Patrick Moore was quoted as saying, "There's an awful lot of pollution, making the sky turn a strange russety colour."
The Mail on Sunday invited its readers to help the researchers in Amsterdam by taking part in a "mass observation" scheduled to occur between 10am and noon on April 1. A "Skyometer" had been printed on the right side of the page that provided a graded chart of different shades of blue. By holding this chart up to the sky, readers could determine which shade best matched the color of the sky. They were asked to mail their results to the Mail on Sunday, which would forward them to the Amsterdam researchers. The reference to astronomer Patrick Moore should have given readers a clue that the article was a hoax. Moore is famous for an April Fool's Day prank he perpetrated on the audience of BBC Radio back in 1976 in which he claimed that a rare alignment of the planets was temporarily going to lessen the earth's gravity.
Southern FM radio in Brighton announced that a full-size replica of the Titanic (constructed by the AFD Construction company) would be visible from the cliffs at Beachy Head as it sailed along the Sussex Coast. Hundreds of people braved the windy, treacherous cliffs to catch a glimpse of the sight. Many drove from as far as 30 or 40 miles away. So many people showed up that the cliffs developed a crack from their weight and a few days later collapsed into the water. (Though by that time everyone was gone.) The radio station later apologised to those who had been deceived.
Cybrary (2001)The British Observer revealed an exciting new idea sweeping through the internet community — a "cybrary," or cyber-library. The idea, dreamed up by London dot.com entrepreneur Lee Peters, was to "store, on paper, all the books available on the net." Peters explained that he wanted to add a "tactile dynamic" to the internet experience. He prophesied that one day millions of people would be able to go "to a public building and handle the texts, creating for the first time a real physical interface." Peters admitted that storage space would be a problem, but he revealed that he was already in talks with a number of London councils which had recently closed their libraries who were willing to offer space to the venture.
A newsletter posted on the official website of Darcey Bussell, the Principal Ballerina of the Royal Ballet, announced that Bussell would be starring as the next Bond woman opposite Pierce Brosnan. Filming would begin in August, with a title sequence being shot at the Royal Opera House. During this sequence she would wear a rubber catsuit — which an accompanying photo showed her modeling.
Bussell was pregnant at the time. However, she anticipated that she would have enough time after delivering her baby to get back into shape for the Bond role. This announcement was picked up by both the Sun and Evening Standard and reported as fact.
The Sunday Express reported that London's Millennium Wheel was to be lowered into a horizontal position and turned into a giant riverside merry-go-round for the summer.
Downloadable Money (2001)Abbey National, a British bank, revealed an April Fool's Day joke that never came to fruition. It planned to offer its customers the ability to download and print money from their home computer. An Abbey National employee said, ""We were going to say that it would suit all those couch potatoes who don't want to go to the bank to get their money out. We would make available a system where you could download money from your personal computer and print it out on paper at home." However, the Bank of England, citing concerns about encouraging forgery, strongly advised Abbey National not to proceed with their joke.
M3 Zebra Crossing (2000)
Early morning commuters travelling on the northern carriageway of the M3 near Farnborough, Hampshire encountered a pedestrian zebra crossing painted across the busy highway. The perpetrator of the prank was unknown. A police spokesman speculated that the prank, "must have been done very early in the morning when there was little or no traffic on the motorway." Maintenance workers were quickly summoned to remove the crossing, which was apparently not too difficult to do since the pranksters had used emulsion paint rather than gloss. The police noted that, surprisingly, they had received no calls from the public about the crossing.
FatSox (2000)The Daily Mail announced that Esporta Health Clubs had launched a new line of socks designed to help people lose weight. Dubbed "FatSox," these revolutionary socks could actually suck body fat out of a person's feet as they sweated. The invention promised to "banish fat for ever." The socks employed a patented nylon polymer called FloraAstraTetrazine that had been "previously only applied in the nutrition industry." The American inventor of this polymer was Professor Frank Ellis Elgood. The socks supposedly worked in the following way: as a person's body heat rose, and their blood vessels dilated, the socks drew "excess lipid from the body through the sweat." After having sweated out the fat, the wearer could then simply remove the socks and wash them, and the fat, away.
Viagra For Hamsters (2000)
The Independent reported that Florida researchers had developed a Viagra-like pill to treat sexually frustrated pets, including hamsters. Veterinarians were said to have greeted the news with derision, but the article pointed out that there are few things as sad as a pet suffering from feelings of sexual inadequacy, noting that "It's not unknown for a guinea pig to sit in its cage thinking, 'I haven't had sex for months. Am I so unattractive?'"
Owners were instructed to grind the pills up and sprinkle them in the pet's food. Laying some newspaper down on the floor once the pills began to take effect was also advised. The pills were to be marketed under the brand name Feralmone.
Zebra Savings Account (1999)The London Sunday Telegraph described an astonishing new savings account that guaranteed to pay the best rate available on the market at all times. The account was called a ZEBRA, short for Zero Energy Best Rate Account. It was being offered by the Hungarian bank Loof Lirpa, through its British subsidiary Lirpa UK. The bank was supposedly able to offer such a compelling rate because it used "a complicated mix of investment vehicles, including futures, options, swaps and pixies" (pixies, of course, are small, magical creatures, not investment vehicles). Thousands of people called the Sunday Telegraph seeking more information about this "trouble-free maximum-paying, no-risk investment."
Smaugia Volans (1999)
The scientific journal Nature, in its online edition, revealed the discovery of "a near-complete skeleton of a theropod dinosaur in North Dakota." The discovery was referred to in an article by Henry Gee discussing the palaeontological debate over the origin of birds. The dinosaur skeleton had reportedly been discovered by Randy Sepulchrave of the Museum of the University of Southern North Dakota. The exciting part of the discovery, according to the article, was that "The researchers believe that the dinosaur, now named as Smaugia volans, could have flown." In actuality, the University of Southern North Dakota does not exist; Smaug was the name of the dragon in Tolkein's The Hobbit; and Sepulchrave was the name of the 76th Earl of Groan in Mervyn Peake's Titus Groan. This Earl, believing that he was an owl, leapt to his death from a high tower, discovering too late that he could not fly.
Euro Anthem (1999)The Today program on BBC Radio 4 announced that the British National anthem ("God Save the Queen") was to be replaced by a Euro Anthem sung in German. The new anthem, which Today played for their listeners, used extracts from Beethoven's music and was sung by pupils of a German school in London. Reportedly, Prince Charles's office telephoned Radio 4 to ask them for a copy of the new anthem. St. James Palace later insisted that it had been playing along with the prank and had not been taken in by it.
Guinness Mean Time (1998)
On March 30, Guinness issued a press release announcing it had reached an agreement with the Old Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England to be the official beer sponsor of the Observatory's millennium celebration. According to this agreement, Greenwich Mean Time would be renamed Guinness Mean Time until the end of 1999. In addition, where the Observatory traditionally counted seconds in "pips," it would now count them in "pint drips." Finally, a Guinness bar would open in the astronomy dome and the Observatory's official millennium countdown would feature a Guinness clock counting "pint settling time" with a two-minute stopwatch.
Guinness issued the announcement as an embargoed release, meaning that reporters who received the release weren't supposed to write about it until the day it was issued to the public on April 1. However, the Financial Times broke the embargo (not realizing that the release was a joke) and discussed the announcement a day early in an article titled "Guinness to sponsor the Old Royal Observatory." It criticized Guinness for exploiting the millennium excitement to promote its brand name, declaring that Guinness, with its Greenwich tie-in, was setting a "brash tone for the millennium."
When the Financial Times learned it had fallen for a joke, it printed a curt retraction, stating that the news it had disclosed "was apparently intended as part of an April 1 spoof." Guinness spokesman Roy Mantle said, "The best thing to say is that they pipped everybody to the post and we were very pleased to see that actually in such an august organ as the Financial Times." In a separate statement Guinness took a more charitable tone, explaining that "The Financial Times was running a perfectly serious business piece and Guinness faxed over the spoof among other information. It wasn't really his [the reporter's] fault."