About eight million people watched the hoax on April Fools' Day in 1957. At the time, spaghetti was rare in the United Kingdom. It was also sometimes considered a delicacy there. The next day, hundreds of people called the BBC to see if spaghetti trees were real and how to grow them. The BBC told callers to put some spaghetti in a can of tomato sauce and "hope for the best".
The BBC showed the hoax on a television programme called Panorama. A reporter named Charles de Jaeger made the hoax. He remembered how his teachers said his classmates would think spaghetti grew on trees. He got a budget of £100 to make the hoax. The hoax was reported by a trusted reporter named Richard Dimbleby. In 2010, CNN said it is the biggest hoax ever made by a trusted news organisation. It is also one of the first hoaxes on television.
- "1957: BBC fools the nation". BBC On This Day. BBC News.
- Andy Bloxham (1 April 2011). "Greatest April fool stories - from spaghetti trees to Alabama changing Pi". The Daily Telegraph.
- Michael Peacock. Interview. BBC News interview. 1 April 2014.
- Saeed Ahmed (1 April 2009). "A nod and a link: April Fools' Day pranks abound in the news". CNN.