Greatest headline

Although probably apocryphal, the greatest newspaper headline I’ve heard of was supposedly written for the occasion that the English politician Michael Foot was appointed to a nuclear disarmament committee.

Michael Foot
Marcel Antonisse / Anefo / CC0

Michael Foot was a Labour politician who was strongly against nuclear escalation. He helped to found the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in 1957 (Bertrand Russell was the first president) and spoke out against it at every opportunity, including the period between 1980 and 1983 when he was the Leader of the Labour Party. Foot was the Leader of the Opposition during much of Margaret Thatcher’s first term as Prime Minister, and resigned from the post following the disastrous 1983 election.

The headline, which was supposedly written when he was appointed to a nuclear disarmament committee, is as follows:

Foot Heads Arms Body

Ah, Flawless. Alas, it may also be apocryphal: while a subeditor of The Times recalls writing it in the late 1980s, there’s no record of the headline appearing in print. It did appear in a letter to the editor in The Guardian in 1978, in which a chap from Edinburgh suggested the headline if Foot were ever appointed Secretary of Defence. He never was, so this greatest of all headlines probably went to waste.

Oh well, at least we’ll always have this 1983 classic from The New York Post:

Headless Body Found in Topless Bar


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