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April Fools! The best pranks get the top ranks

You fools! If you're not a big corporation turning a prank into a marketing ploy, it's unlikely you'll have put much, if any, time, thought or meticulous planning into April Fool's Day. The closest I've ever come to being pranked was French style, ie. not at all. In France, instead of April Fool's Day, there exists Poisson D'Avril or April Fish. That's right, children stick paper fish to the backs of adults just for lols, running off shouting POISSON D'AVRILLLLL. Happy April Fish Day!

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Text Francesca Dunn

  • Virgin intergalactic

    Back in 1989, Richy Richard Branson decided it would be hilarious to create a hot air balloon disguised as a UFO and land it in Hyde Park on 1st April. It would indeed have been hilarious if it had all gone to plan. Unfortunately the wind was blowing in the wrong direction and the UFO landed in a field in Surrey, much to the confusion of the locals. A policeman who was given the task of approaching the balloon, later confessed that he had "never been so scared in 20 years of being a policeman."

    Richard Branson UFO

  • big ben goes digital

    In 1980 it was announced that Big Ben would be getting with the times, dropping the iconic clock face and going digital. Londoners protested against the change only to be told it was a hoax. Such jokers!

    big ben goes digital

  • fairytales

    This creepy little fairy corpse was supposedly found by a Derbyshire dogwalker in 2007. Actually made by a prop designer, the creature enthralled fairy believers across the world who bombarded the 'finder' with emails and visits. Many people refused to believe that it was a fake, with one even warning him to "return the remains to the grave site as soon as possible or face the consequences!"

    fairy hoax

  • way harsh

    'Great news! Your loved one has been selected for early release from prison!' ...or so the families and friends of Romanian prisoners read in a reputable newspaper in 2000. Turning up at the Baia Mare prison gates on 1st April, they were told the paper had played a trick on them and were turned away. Not funny, guys.

  • we're defying gravity

    During a BBC radio 1 interview on 1st April 1976, Sir Patrick Moore announced that at 9:47AM, Pluto would pass behind Jupiter and temporarily cause a gravitational alignment that would decrease Earth's gravity. The British astronomer told listeners that if they jumped in the air at that exact moment, they would experience a strange floating sensation. People called the beeb claiming to have risen up and floated around the room a la Charlie Bucket and his grandad in the chocolate factory bubble chamber. Lies!


    Charlie & The Chocolate Factory