Back in the dark old days of 1967, Italian food was still exotic. Italian coffee houses had come to Britain, especially South Wales, before the Second World War; more came after. By the 1950s, the first Italian restaurants were opening, and the first Italian pasta was on sale in specialist food shops. In 1950, a bohemian writer named Elizabeth David published A Book of Mediterranean Food, and trendy middle class types began to experiment with pasta, olive oil (available in chemists) and other exotic ingredients.
Most did not. For the Essex of the ‘sixties, my mother was a very adventurous cook did cook pasta. Well, one sort of pasta, spaghetti, and one kind of sauce, Bolognese. Many bought it in the first ready meals.
Hence, when Panorama ran this April fool in 1957, a nation fell for it hook, line and pasta.
There is a very good Guardian article on Elizabeth David here.