A new exhibition has invited visitors to muse over memorable headlines from the Daily Star, including Carry On Chaos, Stick It Up Yer Virus, The Dukes Of Biohazard and Psycho Seagulls Corona Rampage.

A cut-out-and-keep ‘do whatever the hell you want’ Dominic Cummings face mask, crafted after the PM’s former aide’s infamous trip to Barnard Castle to test his post-COVID eyesight, has proved a particular conversation piece.

Art technician Adam Sheeran, 28, said: “This stuff wouldn’t look out of place in the Tate. It’s remarkable to think each one was started and finished on the same day from concept to cover. Picasso doesn’t hold a copyright on masterpieces. These are modern treasures.” Economics student Victoria Roberts, 20, said: “I’d have some of these on my wall. Cartoons are art so why not this? It’s sad to think that because it’s a newspaper all this work is only appreciated for a day and then thrown away. They deserve to hang in a gallery in honour of the work that went into them and as a reminder of everything we’ve all been through.”

Law student Adara Fraser, 20, added: “I’ve not seen anything like this before. It has certainly brought back some memories from the past couple of years. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to smile about it.” Meanwhile, Pal Jaz Greenwood, 19, who studies psychology and criminology, said: “I think it’s important this should be preserved. It’s part of history.”

The exhibition is at The White Hotel in Salford, Greater Manchester. The building is an ex-MOT garage turned art venue in the shadow of Manchester’s Strangeways jail. In reference to a Daily Star headline, it’s called Nein! Nein! Nein! The Covid Covers exhibition.

Benjamin Ward, 50, who runs the venue, said: “People who would never normally look at a newspaper were picking up the Daily Star and thinking, ‘woah’. It turned heads. We wanted to find some way of marking the two years we have all just endured and realised no one had done it better than the Daily Star. It deserves its place in the history of our times.’’

Words and images by Jerry Lawton