No one’s sure exactly how April Fools’ Day started, but pranksters have been at it for centuries.
In one early caper in 1698, an anonymous cheeky wag sent out invitations to watch the ‘Washing of the Lions’ ceremony in the Tower of London moat. When people turned up, no one at the Tower had a clue what they were talking about (but we presume someone shouted gotcha!).
Since then, April Fools’ gags have ranged from child’s play – whoopee cushions, plastic spiders, and ‘kick me’ signs stuck onto people’s backs – to elaborate spoofs. Here are five of the best.
- Can you put a price on history? One Kent estate agent tried to, back in 2017, when he revealed that Kent Castle, a medieval masterpiece with 32 bedrooms, a walled garden, and a thousand-year history, was on the market. In an elaborate hoax video, Sean Dickson raved about the castle’s ‘bespoke security measures’ at the ‘unique family residence’ – while leaning on a decommissioned canon. While many locals spotted the gag, many international buyers didn’t and got in touch with Sean to make an offer.
- Last year, South Australian police released a video announcing plans to use dachshunds in the fight against crime. A straight-faced copper explained that the vertically challenged pooches would be deployed on top of cupboards and under cars to sniff out drugs and stolen goods. They would also be attached to drones and dropped into people’s yards (while wearing super cute high-vis police vests). And the name of this new squad? Small Area Urban Searching and Guided Evacuation Dogs (aka sausage dogs, geddit?).
- In 1957, Panorama presenter Richard Dimbleby reported that the Swiss were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. He then showed viewers footage of locals ‘harvesting’ spaghetti from trees. As pasta was still quite an exotic foodstuff in the UK at the time, many people were taken in and contacted the BBC for tips on growing their own pasta.
- Loo roll firm Cottonelle unveiled a new product on 1 April 2015 – ReverseRipple toilet paper for left-handers. It was accompanied by the slogan ‘It cleans just like right-handed toilet paper, only now it’s made for me’.
- A few years later, Coca-Cola announced that its sugar-free drinks range would include three new flavours to keep the Insta generation happy: avocado, sourdough, and charcoal. Thank goodness that was a prank.
What’s your favourite April Fools’ Day prank?
From all of us here at Ridgewater, thanks for reading.