Charles de Jaeger

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Charles Theophile de Jaeger (27 February 1911 - 19 May 2000) was a cameraman for the BBC. He is best known as one of the creators of a famous April Fools' Day joke from 1957: a three-minute spoof report on the Swiss spaghetti harvest beside Lake Lugano broadcast by the British current affairs programme Panorama.

Early years[edit]

De Jaeger was born in Vienna. He worked for the Free French Film Unit during World War II and joined the BBC in July 1943, working as a sub-editor on news for Central Europe. He became a television cameraman in 1948. He was the first BBC newsreel cameraman to film outside the United Kingdom.

April Fools 1957[edit]

The idea for the April Fool came from his school days, during which a teacher had once said "Boys, you are so stupid, you'd believe me if I told you that spaghetti grew on trees".[1] He developed the idea with producer David Wheeler and it was approved by the editor of Panorama, Michael Peacock. A silent film was recorded in Castagnola in Switzerland in March and a commentary written by Wheeler was added by respected broadcaster Richard Dimbleby.[2]

Personal life[edit]

De Jaeger left the BBC in 1959 to become a freelancer. He died in London in May 2000.


  1. ^ Hillier, Bevis (2007). "Trick or treat - page 2". The Spectator. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
  2. ^ "Martin Wainwright on some of the silliest April Fool tricks | Books". London: The Guardian. 30 March 2007. Retrieved 2010-01-25.

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