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, Switzerland

By L. Marsland Gander
Daily Telegraph Radio Correspondent

The B.B.C. made "April Fools" of many television viewers last night by showing a film apparently of spaghetti growing on trees. It was broadcast at the end of the "Panorama" programme with great seriousness and a commentary by Richard Dimbleby.

The film depicted women gathering the "crop" and laying it in receptacles. Then some peasants were seen eating it. The pictures were made by the B.B.C. in Switzerland.

Hundreds rang up Broadcasting House and Lime Grove studios seeking an explanation. There were so many calls that for a time the lines to the studios were blocked.

All the B.B.C. regional centres were also flooded with calls. Most viewers took the joke good-humouredly and expressed amusement, but there were a minority who thought it was childish and irresponsible. Some contended that "April Fools" jokes ought to stop at noon in accorance with tradition.

Mr. Dimbleby, who spoke throughout with his usual solemnity, began by referring to the exceptionally mild winter whcih, he said, had resulted in an unusually heavy spaghetti crop. "The last two weeks of March are an anxious time for the spaghetti farmer.

"There is always a chance of a late frost which, while not entirely ruining the crop, generally mars the flavour and makes it difficult to obtain top prices in world markets. But now these dangers are over and the spaghetti harvest goes forward.

"Spaghetti cultivaiton here in Switzerland is not, of cours carried out on anything like the tremendous scale of the Italian industry. Many of you I am sure will have seen pictures of the vast spaghetti plantations in the Po Valley.

"Another reason why this may be a bumper year lies in the virtual disappearance of the spaghetti weevil." He also commented on the fact that all the pieces of spaghetti were of the same length, the result of years of patient cultivation.

The Daily Telegraph
London, England
April 2, 1957

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