The Headline Challenge is played every weekday morning on the BBC Tees breakfast show (95fm). Peter Barron, and occasionally Chris Lloyd, bat for The Northern Echo, coming up with a funny story from around the world and challenging listeners to produce a better headline than theirs. Points are awarded for the best headline each day and it's double-points for a song title, film, play or book.



Echo: Woman in Germany puts her husband up for sale on Ebay for £16 (1)
BBC: Bidding you farewell (0)

JANUARY 3: BBC: Woman in California catches a thief by setting up security camera and leaving a fake package filled with cat poo.

Echo: It’s a cat trap – and you’ve been caught! (1)
BBC: An inside jobbie (1)

JANUARY 4: Firemen in New Zealand stage an annual football match by using hoses to manouvre the ball around the pitch.

Echo: Match of the spray (2)
BBC: Hose Mourinho (1)

The Northern Echo:


January 6: An airport worker in Toronto becomes an internet sensation with his dance moves while guiding in the planes

Echo: Jet Into The Groove (2)
BBC: Dance The Flight Away (0)

January 7: Launderettes in Chicago are turned into pop-up libraries

Echo: Lady Chatterley’s Lather (2)
BBC: Harry Potter and the Half-Load Rinse (4)

January 8: A motorist goes viral as he chases a runaway tyre down the highway in Houston.

Echo: Wheel meet again (4)
BBC: You picked a fine time to leave me loose wheel (4)

January 9: A restaurant for nudists in Paris closes due to a lack of bums on seats

Echo: Nude Glorious Nude (4)
BBC: Bum dine with me (6)

The Northern Echo:

January 10: Californian woman betty Goedhart becomes world’s oldest trapeze artist at 85

Echo: Trapezey Lover (4)
BBC: Oldest swinger in town (8)


January 14: George, the lonely snail, dies at the University of Hawaii, bringing his species to an end.

Echo: If I could turn back slime (0)
BBC: Slime to snail goodbye (2)

The Northern Echo:

January 15: Woman in Pennsylvania is arrested while breaking into a police station to see an officer she wants to date.

Echo: Find me some bobby to love (0)
BBC: I wanna be Bobby’s girl (4)

January 16: Sunderland Football Club signs deal with Apple to become streaming partner, with playlists chosen by players.

Echo: Mackem the knife (2)
BBC: Sound of the football ground (4)

January 17: Grovelling husband Jose Torres, from Houston, has a list of his failings tattooed on his chest in a bid to stop his wife kicking him out.

Echo: Breaking up is hard tattoo (2)
BBC: Tattoo’s sorry now? (6)

January 18: Animal sanctuary in Kent offers romantics the chance to name a cockroach after their loved one for Valentine’s Day.

Echo: Crawl you need is love (2)
BBC: The Love Bug (10)


January 21: Vandals try to drive a car through a snowman in Kentucky but don’t realise it was built around a tree.

Echo: Costly the snowman (2)
BBC: Ice creamed (0)

The Northern Echo:

January 22: Doctors in Vietnam save man’s life by pumping 15 cans of beer into his stomach.

Echo: I’m only here for the beer (2)
BBC: Your life in their cans (2)

January 23: Man accidentally proposes to girlfriend while knocked out by sleeping pills.

Echo: Here coma the bride (2)
BBC: Wake me up before you say no (4)

January 24: Artist Pascale Sellick announces plans to marry her duvet at a ceremony in Exeter

Echo: Nice day for a white bedding (4)
BBC: Bedding of your dreams (4)

January 25: A herd of horses help to corner a suspect on the run from police in Florida

Echo: Neigh hiding place (4)
BBC: Inspector horse (6)


January 28: Police in Spennymoor launch their own caf← to improve community engagement.

Echo: Fancy a copper? (1)
BBC: PC Tips (0)

January 29: Thief Peter Hans Emery steals large quantity of painkillers in Florida, only to discover they were wrong labelled and we, in fact, laxatives.
Echo: On the runs (2)
BBC: I'm gonna run to loo (0)

January 30: Romantic Christopher Broderick hires a horse and suit of armour to propose to girlfriend Cindy MacDonald in Massachusetts.
Echo: I love you joust the way you are (2)
BBC: That's armoure! (2)

The Northern Echo:

January 31: Japanese entrepreneur Takanobu Nishimoto launches business, hiring out listeners at ᆪ7-an-hour to anyone wanting a good moan.
Echo: I'm in the moaney (4)
BBC: Money for moaning and a fix for a fee (2)

Feb 1: Police called in Kansas after family game of monopoly ends in a fight.
Echo: Putting the boot in (5)
BBC:  Board games dicing with the law (2)


Feb 4: Croft Motor Racing circuit offers romantics the chance to be a racing driver for Valentine’s Day.

Echo: Racy little thing called love (0)
BBC: The first time ever I saw your race (2)

Feb 5: A heart-shaped meteorite goes up for auction in time for Valentine’s Day.

Echo: A hunk, a hunk of burning love (2)
BBC: With love from me-teor (2)

The Northern Echo:

Feb 6: Greggs branch in Sunderland is named the best in the country.

Echo: The winner bakes it all (4)
BBC: They built this city on sausage rolls (2)

Feb 7: New dating app is launched which shows photos of the inside of your fridge.

Echo: Swipe left-overs (4)
BBC: Hello, is it brie you’re looking for (4)

Feb 8: Durham Wildlife Trust stages a “love birds” guided walk for Valentine’s Day.

Echo: How tweet it is to be loved by you (4)
BBC: I just cooed to say I love you (6)


Feb 11: A brawl breaks out during a game of bingo in Ontario when two women wanted to sit at the same chair.

Echo: Kelly’s black eye (0)
BBC: Dabber dabber do (1)

The Northern Echo:

Feb 12: Wildlife centre in Oregon offers to write name of your ex-lover onto the side of salmon and feed it to a bear.

Echo: Bearing a grudge (0)
BBC: Bear goes my first love (3)

Feb 13: Police are called to suspected burglary in Minneapolis only to discover the intruder is a horse.

Echo: Neigh-bourhood watch (1)
BBC: Breaking and cantering (3)

Feb 14: Florence airport in South Carolina has to be closed after a woman is seen streaking down the runway.

Echo: Bum fly with me (3)
BBC: Fly me and I’ll moon (3)

Feb 15: Police in Norway use their riot shields as sledges.

Echo: Police Winterceptors (3)
BBC: The Thin Blue Slide (5)


February 18: New dating app called Tudder is launched to help farmers match up their livestock.

Echo: Something in the way she moos (0)
BBC: It Tudder been me (2)

The Northern Echo:

February 19: Prosecutor Brandon Dinetz stages a fake trial in Florida to propose to fellow attorney Jen Lettman.

Echo: Wife sentence (1)
BBC: I rest my fate (2)

February 20: Bayern Munich mock up The Beatles' classic Abbey Road album cover ahead of their Champions' League clash with Liverpool.

Echo: Kick it to ride (1)
BBC: Fab four four two (3)

February 21: Veteran TV commentator Pierre McGuire is lucky to be alive after a puck missed him by a whisker during an ice hockey game in Ohio.

Echo: Some guys have all the puck (1)
BBC: I should be so pucky, pucky, pucky, pucky (5)

February 22: Man comes bottom of Fantasy Football League in Texas and has to pay a forfeit - stripping down to gold swimming trunks, covering himself in peanut butter, and standing in a dog pound.

Echo: Butter luck next time (2)
BBC: Why do you lick me up, butter-pup (5)


February 25: Man arrested after burgling house in a gorilla costume in Lousiana.

Echo: Breaking Kong and entering (0)
BBC: Primate suspect (2)

February 26: Pensioner drinks half a litre of paint after mistaking it for yoghurt

Echo: I’ve glossed my appetite (1)
BBC: He came over all emulsional (2)

February 27: It’s traffic chaos as 4,000 pies fall off a wagon in New Zealand.

Echo: Pieway to hell (1)
BBC: My way or the pieway (3)

February 28: Firefighters rescue a fat rat from a manhole cover in Germany.

Echo: Tubby or not tubby – rat is the question (1)
BBC: Roland Fat (4)

The Northern Echo:

March 1: Cadbury’s recruit chocolate tasters to test their products.

Echo: Opportunity chocs (1)
BBC: Money for scoffin’ and your chocs for free (6)

WEEK 10   

March 4: Fight breaks out in Alabama restaurant over who was first in the queue for the crabs’ legs with serving tongs used as weapon.

Echo: The tong side of the claw (1)
BBC: Battle crustaceans (0)

March 5: World record is set in Blackpool for the most naked people on a roller-coaster.

Echo: The Big stripper (1)
BBC: The wind beneath my things (2)

The Northern Echo:

March 6: Theo the pilfering cat in Ipswich comes home with £25.70 left out for the milkmen.

Echo: Miaow dairy? (1)
BBC: Kleptomani-cat (3)

March 7: Spanish farmer Pablo Pato treats his cows to a daily roller-skating show.

Echo: Beef casse-roll (2)
BBC: Let meat entertain you (3)

March 8: Pilot in Canada delivers pizzas to passengers stranded in a snowstorm on runway.

Echo: Cheesy jet (3)
BBC: Cleared for take-away (3)


March 11: Snorkeler is swallowed by a whale off South Africa and then spat back out.

BBC: All’s whale that ends whale (0 )
Echo: Moby Lick (2 )

March 12: Man running marathon in London wearing a Big Ben costume is blown off course by high winds.

Echo: Bong with the wind (4)
BBC: The wind beneath my rings (4)

March 13: Man stopped in his car with $10,000 of Disney merchandise in his car in America.

Echo: Taking the Mickey (5)
BBC: Eyeore to know better (4)

March 14: Darren Ansbro, of Yarm, takes part in first ever Window Cleaning World Cup

Echo: The window takes it all (5)
BBC: Win I’m cleaning windows (6)

March 15: Pilot delivers burgers to passengers stuck on a runway in Oklahoma.

Echo: Burger and flies (6)
BBC: Flippin’ hero (6)


March 18: A Harry Potter-themed restaurant opens in New Zealand.

Echo: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Scone (0)
BBC: Harry’s Potter tea (1)

March 19: Racehorse escapes from Uttoxeter races and ends up outside Domino’s pizza shop.

Echo: Cloppy guiseppe (1)
BBC: Domineighs (1)

The Northern Echo:

March 20: Armando, the racing pigeon, sells for a world record 1.25m euros.

Echo: Coo wants to be a millionaire (3)
BBC: Coo’s in the money (3)

March 21: Californian businessman faces legal action from neighbours over Fred Flinstone-style house complete with dinosaurs

Echo: Yabba-dabba sue! (3)
BBC: Stonerage (4)

March 22: Man forced to lower his fence in California takes revenge on neighbor by setting up naked mannequins in his garden.

Echo: Neigh-bare-hood crotch (3)
BBC: Don’t look crack in anger (6)


March 25: Postman “dies” of a heart attack in Gloucester but comes back to life while being wheeled to the morgue.

Echo: Post-mortem Pat (6)
BBC: Back in a jiffy (0)

March 26: Truck catches fire in California carrying a load of sausages and bacon.

Echo: Fryway to hell (8)
BBC: The sowering inferno (0)

March 27: A contest takes place in Belgium to find the best seagull impressionist.

Echo: My gull, squawking about my gull (8)
BBC: Mock of seagulls (1)

March 28: Shoppers report seeing ghost in the aisles of a supermarket in Massachusetts.

Echo: The Phantom of the Shopera (8)
BBC: The Lidl Shop of Horrors (5)

March 29: Man arrested in New York for stealing a lorry-load of cakes.

Echo: Battenburglar (8)
BBC: Hit and crumb (9)

The Northern Echo:


April 1: Man caught driving a car in Minnesota with two pigs on his lap.

Echo: Chop gear (2)
BBC: Lewis Ham-ilton (0)

April 2: Police officer goes into sauna in Sweden on his day off and arrests a naked wanted man sitting next to him.

Echo: Sweat’s be having you (2)
BBC: Starkers and Hutch (2)

April 3: Heck Food company announces plans to erect Sausage of the North sculpture on the A1.

Echo: Link road (2)
BBC: Highway to heck (4)

The Northern Echo:

April 4: Cornish man calms down aggressive pheasant by donning a g-string and performing a masculine sex dance.

Echo: I wanna dance with some birdy (4)
BBC: Shake your tail feathers (4)

April 5: Two car dealers walk to work in Darlington dressed as traffic cones to raise money for the Butterwick Hospice.

Echo: Coneth the hour, coneth the man (4)
BBC: Country roads – take me cone (6)


April 8: Football fan in Argentina digs up grandad’s skull so he can join in the celebrations when their local team wins the title.

Echo: Football’s coming bone (0)
BBC: You’ll never walk a bone (2)

The Northern Echo:

April 9: Louie, the spaniel, is taken to the vets who discover he’s swallowed five golf balls on a course in Birmingham.

Echo: Tiger Woofs (1)
BBC: He’s been a bit rough (2)

April 10: Fun-runner plans to run the London Marathon carrying an ironing board.

Echo: Creased lightning (1)
BBC: Steam GB (3)

April 11: Woman lodges insurance claim in America after horse tries to mate with her car.

Echo: Hump in the road (1)
BBC: Unbridled passion (4)

April 12: A Morris Dancing festival comes to Darlington.

Echo: The Morris the merrier (1)
BBC: Stickly chums dancing (6)


April 15:  Jeremy Corbyn gives gardening advice on social media.

Echo: The Weeder of the Opposition (1)
BBC: The irises have it (0)

April 16: Hartlepool United fans plan to dress as Knights of the realm for the last away match.

Echo: Sir Goal-ahad (1)
BBC: Knights of the league table (2)

April 17: Ollie the collie loves playing football and won’t let the postman deliver letters to the house in Rosyth until they’ve played football.

Echo: Kenny Dog-leash hits the post (2)
BBC: In off the postie (2)

April 18: Restaurant is planned for York with Viking theme and has an area to try axe-throwing.

Echo: Pork chopper (2)
BBC: York chop (3)

The Northern Echo:

WEEK 17   

April 23: David Page, 72, wins the World Coal-carrying Championships

Echo: Coal-lympic champion (0)
BBC: Coaling for gold (1)

April 24: The Easter bunny gets involved in a brawl in Orlando and displays boxing skills.

Echo: Tyson Furry (0)
BBC: Thumper (2)

April 25: Barbara the sheep is fitted with a double-D bra in Norwich because she’s struggling with over-sized udders.

Echo: Bra bra blacksheep (2)
BBC: Ba-ba-ba-ba Ba-a-ba-bra-lamb (2)

The Northern Echo:

April 26: CCTV shows it’s a mouse – not a ghost – that’s been tidying up a Bristol man’s shed every night.

Echo: Mouse proud (2)
BBC: Arranger mouse (4)


April 29: Darlington market trader Seymour Borlant recalls singing live on Cairo TV with a cat that pooed on his white tuxedo.

Echo: Top of the poops (0)
BBC: What’s poo pussycat? (2)

The Northern Echo:

April 30: Man in Queensland has the world’s largest collection of antique sewing machines and plans to open a museum.
Echo: And I love you sew (2)
BBC: Sewing the seeds of love (2)

May 1: A bird-box disguised as a speed camera is slowing down motorists in Cornwall.

Echo: Thrush hour (4)
BBC: Spy-lark (2)

May 2: Florida steakhouse appeals for the return of its stolen life-size plastic cow.

Echo: They can’t steak that away from me (6)
BBC: Cow-ch me if moo can (2)

May 3: Two gulls, nicknamed Graeme and Steve, go viral after becoming fascinated with a traffic camera in London.

Echo: Gulls on film (6)
BBC: Birds of a feather pose together (8)


May 7: Thieves steal $25,000 of lingerie from a Victoria’s Secret store in America
Echo: Thong arm of the law (0)
BBC: Busted (1)

May 8: County Durham Fire & Rescue Service reaches final of national football final.

Echo: You only singe when you’re winning (2)
BBC: Burned it like Beckham (1)

May 9: School in the French Alps registers 15 sheep as pupils to keep up class sizes

Echo: Ed-ewe-cating Bleater (4)
BBC: Key Stage Ewe (1)

May 10: Pigeon caught breaking the limit on a speed camera in Germany

Echo: Fast and coo-rious (6)
BBC: Catch the pigeon (1)

The Northern Echo:


May 13: Durham Chief Constable Mike Barton completes charity sky-dive

Echo: It’s a fair drop, Guvnor (0)
BBC: Hurtle Poirot (6)

May 14: Cinema in Switzerland swaps its seats for double-beds.

Echo: The Good, The Bad and The Snugly (0)
BBC: Move over, Darlin’ (10)

May 15: Man walking his dog in Australia finds a gold nugget worth $37,000.

Echo: Wags to riches (0)
BBC: Gold-run Retriever (11)

May 16: World’s smallest disco in a Devon phone-box proves a big hit

Echo: Stay on the line, stay on the line (by the BT Gees) (4)
BBC: Ring my bell (11)

The Northern Echo:

May 17: Student in South Africa poses as food quality inspector to get a free meal every day for a year at Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Echo: Con-tucky-lied chicken (5)
BBC: I steal like Chicken Tonight (12)


May 20: The Queen employs a servant to break in her new shoes.
Echo: Send her big toe-rious (1)
BBC: Tread of stead (0)

May 21: Football pitch in New Jersey is shut down after rare bird builds nest near the goal.

Echo: Hatch of the day (3)
BBC: On the wing (0)

The Northern Echo:

May 22: The Spice Girls tour bus has been converted into an Airbnb

Echo: If you wanna be my lodger (3)
BBC: Arriva forever (2)

May 23: Victoria and Albert Museum displays cheese matured from microbes taken from celebrities.

Echo: Camembert Grills (4)
BBC: Brie-once (3)

May 24: Man in Orlando goes round rescuing homeless cats and dogs while dressed as Batman.

Echo: The Bark Knight (4)
BBC: Gotham kitty (4)


May 28: Austrian firefighters rescue a fat hedgehog that got stuck in a gate.

Echo: Wedgehog (1)
BBC: Mrs Biggy-winkle (0)

May 29: Glasgow café introduces camel milk for teas and coffees.

Echo: One hump or two? (1)
BBC: Camel-mine tea (1)

May 30: Pub in London gets a nudist licence

Echo: A bum and coke please (1)
BBC: A nuddy Mary (2)

The Northern Echo:

May 31: An “unexploded bomb” in London turns out to be a giant Christmas bauble.

Echo: Blast Christmas (3)
BBC: Let it blow, let it blow, let it blow (2)