In Depth

Best April Fools’ Day news stories 2019

Hear ye, hear ye... there are japes to be had in the UK’s news media today

News outlets across the globe are trotting out daft stories today for that most joyous of occasions, April Fools’ Day.

Planting made-up stories on the front page may be increasing problematic in the “fake news” era, but 1 April remains a good opportunity for creative journalists to riff on hot-button issues - and hopefully, catch out a few readers in the process.

But not everyone is getting into the spirit of things. GQ magazine argues: “There are no jokes, pranks or japes that could possibly be more ridiculous than our present-day goings-on, and stories that were once the stuff of practical jokes are now spread as sincere by online provocateurs.”

The mag adds: “We live in an age that is impossible to parody”.

But that hasn’t stopped this lot from giving it a go:

Anglo-Welsh zipline

According to WalesOnline, an epic new adventure park is “due to open at the M48 crossing next year, allowing thrill-seekers to soar from Chepstow to Gloucestershire over the River Severn at speeds of up to 100mph”.

The news site says the planned zip-line follows the success of Limited Zero, a similar experience that whisks riders across the border from Spain to Portugal.

Brexit stamps

A new series of stamps commemorating Brexit feature the likes of Nigel Farage depicted as Richard the Lionheart, and Boris Johnson dressed as Winston Churchill, according to messages on social media

Johnson, who wrote a biography of the wartime leader, “is meant to look like he’s cleaned up his act”, says the i news site. “Consider the turd polished,” reads the stamp commemorating his role in the Leave campaign, it is claimed.

The UK’s new healing Tsar

According to The Guardian, in an attempt to bring the nation together again amid Brexit tensions, Vince Cable and Bob Geldof are planning to team up to perform a reworked version of Do They Know It’s Christmas? – but with the chorus changed to: “Heal the island, let them know it’s bonding time.”

A sticking point is said to be Cable's insistence that he perform live alongside Geldof. The former Boomtown Rat singer is quoted as saying: “I’m not going on stage with that old fooker.”

The newspaper adds that in “heated meetings behind closed doors” at Thenford House, the Northamptonshire estate belonging to Michael Heseltine, the Liberal Democrat representative argued strongly for party supporter Bob Geldof as “healing tsar”. An insider promoting Geldof’s credentials is alleged to have said: “He brought the country together with Live Aid – he can do it again.”

All aboard

The British Transport Police (BTP) have announced a new ban on eating any smelly food on trains, with fines of £2,000 for any offenders.

Apparently, a Criminal Food Behaviour Order will be slapped on anyone caught consuming prohibited items: eggs, fish (whether fresh or tinned), blue cheese, sausage rolls, fermented shark or vegetables, and all “fast food”.

Inspector Pete Pong (geddit?) said: “Stinky food has been a long-standing contentious issue on Britain’s rail network and I am pleased we could respond to the public’s concerns and work to stamp out this very pressing problem.”

The end of April Fools Day?

This year’s celebrations could be the last allowed under UK law, according to The Daily Telegraph, which reports that all British April Fools’ gags have been banned because the public can no longer tell the difference between “reality and farce”.

The paper claims an ancient parliamentary statute from 1653 unearthed by cabinet minister “Lord Japes” is being used to enforce this new rule. The medieval order reportedly bans the issuing of false reports and includes the punishment of “splitting of an offender’s ribs”.

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