The British red-top newspapers have a unique way of writing headlines. Here are a few of the most memorable from the lat 30 years:
ACHTUNG SURRENDER! (The Daily Mirror) This was the headline before England played Germany at the Euro 96 football championship. Alongside was a letter from the editor Piers Morgan parodying former Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s declaration of war on Germany in 1939 – “Last night the Daily Mirror’s ambassador in Berlin handed the German government a final note stating that, unless we heard from them by 11 o’clock, a state of soccer war would exist between us”. It also contained some pictures alongside the text that featured England team-mates Paul Gascoigne and Stuart Pearce in authentic World War II helmets. The Mirror later apologised and sent the German team a hamper full of goodies from Harrods. Of course England lost the match. In fact, before playing Spain in the quarter-final the tabloids had also attacked Spain as the birthplace of syphilis and a nation where all the women had moustaches. As far as I know, no apology was ever made to the Spanish.
BORING OLD GITS TO WED (The Daily Star) The day after Prince Charles’ engagement to Camilla Parker-Bowles was announced, The Star led with this headline.
ZIP ME UP BEFORE YOU GO-GO (The Sun) The Sun’s front page on the singer George Michael’s indiscretion in a Los Angeles lavatory.
CRISIS, WHAT CRISIS? (The Sun) Reporting the attitude of a seemingly oblivious Prime Minister Jim Callaghan as he returned from holiday in 1979 in the middle of the so-called “Winter of Discontent.”
ELTON TAKES DAVID UP THE AISLE (The Sun) Elton John’s wedding to David Furnish gets The Sun treatment.
FREDDIE STARR ATE MY HAMSTER (The Sun) Lea La Salle’s claim that the comedian had eaten her pet in a sandwich produced this memorable headline. Max Clifford, the publicist, later admitted that the whole story had been a fabrication.
STICK IT UP YOUR JUNTA (The Sun) Reporting Margaret Thatcher’s rejection of an April 1982 peace move by Argentina during the Falklands War.
GOTCHA! (The Sun) This came out after the May 1982 torpedoing and sinking of the Argentine ship General Belgrano during that war
KILL AN ARGIE AND WIN A METRO! (a British Leyland car) This is not a real headline but a Private Eye parody of The Sun’s Falklands coverage, to which MacKenzie is said to have jokingly responded, “Why didn’t I think of that?”.
BONKERS BRUNO BANGED UP (The Sun) They showed such great sensitivity to the mental problems of the former British boxer.
IF KINNOCK WINS TODAY WILL THE LAST PERSON TO LEAVE BRITAIN PLEASE TURN OUT THE LIGHTS (The Sun) – Backing the Conservatives against Labour’s Neil Kinnock at the 1992 General Election.
IT’S THE SUN WOT WON IT (The Sun) Claiming credit for that 1992 Conservative victory.
SWEDES 1 TURNIPS 0 England failed to qualify for Euro ’92 and this cruel headline was accompanied by a photo of the England football manager Graham Taylor looking like a root vegetable.
UP YOURS DELORS (The Sun) This November 1990 headline had two fingers on the front page and accused the President of the European Commission of trying to force the ECU on the UK.
The final four are from The Sunday Sport, a paper founded in 1986, famous for its ludicrous stories and pictures of scantily-clad females. No comments are necessary:
WOMAN PREGNANT FOR 65 YEARS GIVES BIRTH TO A PENSIONER!
WORLD WAR 2 BOMBER FOUND ON MOON
ALIENS TURNED MY SON INTO A FISH FINGER