Twenty telly baddies have been chosen by viewers as some of the evilest of all time.
ATV Today’s favourite baddie, Alan Bradley of Coronation Street with the unsuspecting Rita Fairclough.
“A hero is only as good as its villain, and our televisions have been filled with all sorts of baddies over the years, from mythical ice zombies to miserable talent show judges. But who or what is the most evil villain of all time? In order to find out we asked the nation.” – SCS
Of course a villain is often of their time; many fail to remain in the social conscience once they’ve departed the screens having scared us but then fade away, while some remain memorable for decades after due to lasting visual scars.
A few of our personal favs that didn’t make the twenty include Joan ‘the freak’ Ferguson of Prisoner: Cell Block H and other soap baddie Malcolm Ryder of the Crossroads Motel. In serial drama Alan Bradley gave us the chills during his time in Coronation Street and Norman Bates on the silver screen made Psycho an eye-closing scream while the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz became legendary with a look much copied when creating an evil old green-faced witch.
Some that remained memorable, and I suppose age may come into it too and how recent some of the villains are, have been picked by telly viewers polled by sofa carpet specialist, ScS.
The twenty most evil TV villains of all time starts with the most notorious villain of the big screen, and small, receiving one in ten (10%) of the votes, was Hannibal Lecter, star of the TV series Hannibal, alongside his role in various films. With the respected forensic psychiatrist moonlighting as a cannibalistic serial killer, literally eating his victims, it is perhaps unsurprising that ‘Hannibal the Cannibal’ came out as the most evil character to ever grace the small screen.
Villanelle or Oksana Astankova, the psychopathic Russian assassin played by Jodie Comer, came out as the most notorious female villain (number four overall). Star of the hit show Killing Eve, she possesses a cold brutality and appetite for killing, under her innocent looking exterior.
Richard Hillman of Coronation Street loving husband by day, evil murderer by night.
The 20 most evil villains
1 – Hannibal Lecter, Hannibal, 10% of the vote. One of the most terrifying horror characters of film, literature and television, Dr. Lecter comes out on top as the nation’s most notorious villain.
2 – The Daleks, Doctor Who, 6.7%. A nazi-like race of mutants created by the scientist Davros, whose aims are to “exterminate” any race they believe to be inferior, Daleks are conditioned to obey their superior’s orders without question. First appearing on our screens on Doctor Who in 1963, they possess no individual personality traits other than anger and hatred.
3 – Richard Hillman, Coronation Street, 5.1%. Probably the most infamous villain from Coronation Street, known for his numerous homicide attempts in order to get money. Hillman’s last crime was arguably his worst, when he attempted to murder the entire Platt family by tying them up in a car, gassing them and driving them into a canal, where he met his own fatal end.
4 – Villanelle, Killing Eve, 4.8%. A hired assassin who becomes entangled in a ‘cat and mouse’ game with British Intelligence Agent, Eve Polastri. Villanelle always had a violent reputation, stemming from when she castrated her former lover’s husband, to free him from his wife Anna, who she was having an affair with. The actress, Jodie Comer, has since gone on to win an Emmy and a Bafta for her portrayal of the slick villain.
5 – Pat Phelan, Coronation Street, 4.7%. Another Corrie villain, Pat is known for terrorising Anna Windass, coercing her into having sex with him, destroying her relationship and plunging her family into financial ruin. Not only is Phelan also indirectly and directly responsible for several deaths on the show, he is also guilty of rape, as well as keeping Andy Carver prisoner for a whole year.
6 – Dirty Den, EastEnders, 4.7%. Dennis “Dirty Den” Watts is the original landlord of The Queen Victoria pub. Among his list of dirty deeds includes giving divorce papers to his first wife, Angie, in the 1986 Christmas Day episode, watched by more than half the UK at the time. He was also involved with The Firm, a feared criminal organisation linked to racketeering, arson and murder.
7 – Ramsay Bolton, Game of Thrones, 4.6%. A truly evil character played by Iwan Rheon, Ramsey is known for his awful behaviour to his wife Sansa Stark, stabbing his father to death and torturing Theon Greyjoy. He keeps a pack of hunting dogs, named after his victims, and brings their flayed skin back with him as a trophy for his villainous acts. He meets his demise at the hands of these dogs, on orders from Sansa, which has been described as one of the most satisfying TV deaths of all time.
Den Watts nicknamed ‘Dirty Den’ was a baddie in EastEnders during its early days.
8 – Negan, The Walking Dead, 4.5%. Negan is the leader of a survivor group known as the Saviours, however it would be a dubious proposition to say they ‘save’ anyone. The group regularly ambush other survivors, steal their supplies, assault and murder people in the process. Negan also steals the wives of many other men, and is known for using a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire to kill some heroes of the show.
9 – Cersei Lannister, Game of Thrones, 4.4%. Cersei’s lust for power, as well as her manipulative and merciless personality traits, leads her to commit several heinous crimes, as well as encourage her son Joffrey to do wicked things seemingly out of love and protection. Her incestuous relationship with her brother Jamie also led her to arrange the murders of John Arran and Lord Stark in order to protect her secret.
10 – Mr. Burns, The Simpsons, 3.6%. Charles Montgomery “Monty” Burns is the evil, greedy owner of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. A stereotype of corporate America, Mr. Burns is constantly looking to increase his own wealth and power, forgetting his employees’ names and having little-to-no regard for their safety along the way.
11 – Joffrey Baratheon, Game of Thrones, 3.4%. Thrust into power as King of Westeros at a young age following his father’s death, Joffrey’s spoiled and sadistic bullying tendencies are allowed to run riot with no one able to control him. He enjoys forcing people to fight to their grim deaths, inflicting cruel punishments for minor crimes, and ordering members of his Kingsguard to beat his wife.
12 – H, Line of Duty, 3.1%. H is the criminal mastermind behind the bent-copper cases the protagonists have had to take on, and he or she is currently completely anonymous. Several AC12 members have come under suspicion, including Inspector Ted Hastings, who was cleared in the last season, to the elation of Line of Duty viewers.
13 – Simon Cowell, The X Factor, 3%. Simon is known for his brutally honest and controversial comments as judge of shows such as The X Factor, Pop Idol and Britain’s Got Talent. Has been compared to Tony Hatch who was doing similar on New Faces back on ITV in the 1970s.
14 – Trevor Morgan, EastEnders, 2.7%. ‘Enders worst ever antagonist, Trevor consistently beat, embarrassed and assaulted his wife Little Mo Slater. He even burnt her with an iron, and forced her to eat Christmas dinner off the carpet for turning up late, making him one of TV’s most hated villains.
‘Only God can judge me’ unless you end up on an ITV talent show, then you’ll find TV God is Simon Cowell.
15 – Katie Hopkins, 2.5%. First appearing on our screens in the third series of The Apprentice in 2007, Katie Hopkins has been infamous for her outspoken views on subjects such as class, obesity, migrants, and race, attracting immense criticism from society and the media.
16 – Gus Fring, Breaking Bad, 2.5%. Mob boss Fring is a significant methamphetamine distributor in Southwestern United States, using a chain of fast food restaurants as a front for his enormous drug operation. Despite his friendly and calm front, Fring is ruthless, enforcing several killings and personally finishing off his adversaries.
17 – Thomas Shelby, Peaky Blinders, 2.4%. Tommy is leader of the Peaky Blinders, a criminal gang from Birmingham who use razor blades hidden in flat caps as weapons. Their crimes include but are not limited to robbery, smuggling, bribery, fraud, assault and extortion, all at Tommy’s request.
18 – The Night King, Game of Thrones, 2.3%. Sporting a crown of pointy, frosted horns, the Night King is a sort of ice-zombie who aims to create an ‘eternal winter’ by killing every person in the world and raising them from the dead to join his army.
19 – Thomas Barrow, Downton Abbey, 2.3%. Thomas Barrow is known to be unsympathetic, sly, and for creating conflict for everyone else. Among his list of dirty deeds are blackmailing his former lover, theft, and war profiteering.
20 – Tom, Tom and Jerry, 2.1%. One half of the famous duo created in 1940 by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, Tom the cat is constantly looking to chase and torment mouse Jerry, either for his own amusement or to receive a reward.
“The dirty deeds of some of TV’s villains are truly horrendous, but they certainly make for entertaining viewing. It’s fascinating to see which villains the nation think are the most evil, and although it’s not entirely surprising to see Hannibal Lecter voted number one, taking a tenth of the votes is a convincing win for the psychiatrist-come-cannibal.” – Dale Gillespie, Head of Acquisition at ScS