With today being April Fool’s day, Exact Editions is looking to its digital archives to discover how the day is celebrated around the world and its close associations with jesters, pranks, Shakespeare, laughter and its hidden political significance.

BBC History Revealed

BBC History Revealed, ’10 Best Ever April Fools’: April 2014 issue.

Switzerland’s Spaghetti Harvest Staged by The BBC’s Panorama Programme for April Fool's Day

Archive Perspectives
Switzerland’s Spaghetti Harvest Staged by The BBC’s Panorama Programme

BBC History Revealed shares the 10 best ever April Fools pranks around the world, featuring the Spaghetti Harvest in 1957, where The BBC’s Panorama reported that Switzerland enjoyed a huge spaghetti harvest due to the elimination of the dreaded ‘spaghetti weevil’. Many viewers called in, asking how they could grow their own!

Read the article, pages 48–49, here.


Red Pepper

Red Pepper, ‘Fool For you’: April 2007 issue.

Chris Martin, The Lead Singer of Coldplay 

Archive perspectives: April Fool's Day
Chris Martin, The Lead Singer of Coldplay

April Fool’s Day knows no religious or secular boundaries. Its power lies in the potential to upset the applecart.

Martin Wainwright discusses the ancient subversive tradition behind pranks, looking at their genuine political tones that channel frustrations from replacing bishops with donkeys in church services to Google adding aliens in Area 51 on Google Earth.

Read the article, pages 32–33, here.


ArabLit Quarterly

ArabLit Quarterly, ‘How Moroccans Laugh’: Summer 2022 THE JOKE issue.

A Moroccan Man laughing 

Archive perspectives: April Fool's Day

In Morocco, there isn’t a topic that isn’t joked about. We have a Holy Trinity, just like in the rest of the world: sex, religion, and politics.

The Summer 2022 issue of Arablit Quarterly (THE JOKE) features an essay by Sanaa El Ali (published in December 2006 in Nichane  —  an independent publication, notorious for tackling contentious political and social issues) on ‘How Moroccan’s Laugh’.

Sanaa explains how different jokes can reveal which region you are from, the intricate social commentary on important events and how a joke is affected by the popular imagination.

Read the article, pages 86–97, here.


The Times Literary Supplement

The Times Literary Supplement, ‘Absolute Monarcho A megalomaniac jester at the court of Queen Bess’: April 16 2021 issue.

Moanrcho, Queen Elizabeth's jester

Archive perspectives: April Fool's Day
Moanrcho, Queen Elizabeth’s jester

Queen Elizabeth Employed numerous court jesters during her long reign, but there is only one who was mentioned by Shakespeare.

Did you know that Shakespeare took inspiration from a jester and mentioned him twice in his works Love’s Labour’s Lost and All’s Well that Ends Well?

Peter K Andersson attempts to learn more about Moanrcho’s origins, what influenced the irrational belief of his self-importance and how he ended up being Queen Elizabeth’s court jester.

Read the article, pages 8–9, here.


Access to the digital magazine issues included in this post will be active until the 1st of June 2023.

Fully-searchable digital subscriptions to BBC History RevealedRed Pepper, ArabLit Quarterly and The Times Literary Supplement are all available in the Exact Editions individual and institutional shops.

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