By Jon Kirk

Top 10 Headline Howlers

The British newspaper industry is rightly regarded as the pinnacle of modern journalism, not only in the rich breadth of stories covered, but also in the way they are presented to the public.Ever since the Daily Express and Mirror decided back in the 1930s to take the revolutionary step of writing copy in a more punchy, concise and free-flowing style, stories have, in the main, been a joy — as opposed to a chore — to read.

The attention-grabbing headline alone is a shining example of clear, compelling English at its finest.

Except when it goes wrong.

It’s no surprise that one of the biggest fears among media professionals — from Fleet Street hacks to PR execs — is the headline howler. For nothing can turn a great story into an unintentional farce quicker than a grammatical gaffe or clumsy turn of phrase.

Nevertheless, there is a plus side to sub-standard headlines: they are hilarious.

Below is a collection of some choice nuggets – a round-up of the most ridiculous headlines to see print.

From “Hospitals are sued by 7 foot doctors”, to “Astronaut takes blame for gas in spacecraft”, this top 10 list includes headlines that make you groan, wince or blush.

Today’s news might be tomorrow’s chip paper, but these headlines won’t be forgotten in a hurry. In fact, they’re sure to go down in history as the worst ever conceived.

We can’t guarantee that all of them are genuine — newsroom myths are sometimes hard to distinguish from reality — but we can promise that each one is fantastically funny.

Until next time.




“Hospitals are sued by seven foot doctors”

(NHS chiefs given the boot for ‘heightist’ recruitment.)


“Panda mating fails, veterinarian takes over”

(There’s going above and beyond in the call of duty, and then there’s this.)


“Prostitutes appeal to Pope”

(Catholicism rocked to its core by badly-worded headline!)


“Iraqi head seeks arms”

(Seems the former Baghdad leader had gone to pieces over an explosive gun deal.)


“POLICE Squad helps dog bite victim”

(Now that’s what you call getting your teeth into crime!)


“Queen Mary is having bottom scraped”

(The obligatory bottom joke in the list . . .)


“Sex education delayed, teachers request training”

(. . . and the obligatory sex joke.)


“Miners refuse to work after death”

(Can you blame them?)



(Heroic holly, take a ‘bough’.)


“Astronaut takes blame for gas in spacecraft”

(Angry NASA goes ‘into orbit’ following internal leak.)