The EastEnders legend topped the poll by OnBuy.com.
Frank and Pat Butcher, the latter with her ‘trademark’ earrings.
In the poll soap fans were asked ‘Which of these British soap characters has the most iconic style?’ with participants having to initially choose from a list of 50 iconic soap characters plucked from the current on-air crop EastEnders, Coronation Street and Emmerdale. Once the top ten was identified, the soap addicts chose one final as their favourite.
And the top choice was Walford’s queen of the earrings, Pat Butcher with 36%. Played by Pam St. Clement from 1986 until 2012 her fashion was as dramatic as her storylines.
Pam joined the cast of fledgling soap opera EastEnders in 1986 and went on to become one of the series longest-running and most popular characters. Although fondly remembered as the respected matriarch she became, early plots saw Pat cause trouble in the Square, notably tormenting her ex husband Pete (Peter Dean) and son Simon (Nick Berry).
Pat went on to have marriages with childhood sweetheart Frank Butcher (Mike Reid) and the more dependable Roy Evans (Tony Caunter), while a ‘frenemy’ relationship with Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor) proved popular with fans over the years.
She’s got the look, Pat and her famous style.
Pat was controversially killed off by EastEnders’ bosses when the character passed away from pancreatic cancer on New Years Day 2012 following Pam asking for time off. However it wasn’t the final appearance for the one-time landlady of the Queen Vic as she returned to say farewell to another of the boozers famous owners.
Pat appeared to Peggy as a hallucination, just before Peggy took an overdose of pills to end her battle with terminal cancer in 2016. She also reprised the role of Pat post demise for a Children In Need short in 2014 that saw Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) dream about faces from the past after being knocked unconscious.
“[What happened to] Pam was a disgrace, we never understood it. She told me she wanted a little time off and next thing I know she’s phoning me up saying ‘can I come and see you?’ and she looked at me her face with big tears and she went ‘they’re killing me off Bar’. Nobody knew why, nobody and by God isn’t she missed! I hope she don’t mind me saying that… I think everybody knew she didn’t want to go, it was a shock to her. She’s a good bird and she’s a good lady to have in a show like that.” – Barbara Windsor speaking to ITV in 2013
Pam has had a long stage and television career appearing in ITV shows such as London Weekend Television’s gritty prison drama Within These Walls and their war saga, Enemy At The Door. She appeared in Emmerdale Farm as Harriett Eckersley for Yorkshire Television and in LWT sitcom Bottle Boys which revolved around milkmen and women. Since leaving EastEnders she has appeared in children’s series Leonardo and hosted an animal-related slot on ITV’s This Morning.
A square affair, Pat and Peggy both have been enjoying the Butcher’s charm, but Frank was now married to Peggy.
Other soap style icons making the top ten of the OnBuy.com poll include at number two Coronation Street’s Liz McDonald (Beverley Callard) with 18% of the votes. Liz went from a ‘frumpy 30-something mother’ – wearing long floral skirts and high neck blouses – to a ‘red-light worker style’ featuring animal print skimpy tops and short leather skirts courtesy of Alec Gilroy (Roy Barraclough) who wanted a sexier look for his Rovers Return bar staff.
At number three, with 14%, its Albert Square’s gossip loving, chain smoking, bible quoting Dorothy Cotton (June Brown). Dot first appeared in EastEnders back in July 1985 as the mother of wayward Nick (John Altman), with a style that rarely changed over the years; even a re-marriage to Jim Branning didn’t change the look of Dot – nor did anyone who watches ‘Enders stop calling her Cotton either. Dot and her famous red-streaked hairdo left Walford for the final time in 2020 – although the door is open for future returns.
Just under Dot, at four, is another Albert Square regular Kat Slater (Jessie Wallace) who also, like Liz McDonald, loves a good animal print fashion statement and leather garments while at five is the queen of the leopard print Bet Lynch (Julie Goodyear) the only women in Weatherfield, and possibly the world of soap, who has an entire wardrobe in the animal print – from knickers to hat and even matching handbag and suitcases!
In sixth place is the loud in voice and in clothes Bianca Jackson (Patsy Palmer) of EastEnders. Bright pink leggings and a silver puffer coat could only be pulled off by Bianca, although her daughter Tiffany also for a while began to copy her mothers style too. And at number seven comes the recently returned to Emmerdale, Mandy Dingle (Lisa Riley). Originally Mandy was a big girl with big fashion ideas, from bright multi-coloured shirts to a dalmatian pattern coat, these days she may be slimline in figure but she’s still full Dingle with bright stand-out clothes and leopard print coat.
At eight its EastEnders’ Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) who gives her wardrobe a touch of sparkle. Like Angie Watts (Anita Dobson) before her there’s a fair share of sparkly sequins in Linda’s wardrobe along with impression leaving abstract print tops and floral blouses. While her life can be a rolling mess, her clothes rarely are dowdy. Even in the height of home misery she can cut a fine look in a bright pink tracksuit jacket.
Speaking of dowdy and misery Deirdre Barlow (Anne Kirkbride) suffered her fair share of heartache in her forty years in Weatherfield. The Coronation Street stalwart, despite the grim outlook, had several hair and fashion styles over her years walking the cobbles – but her 1970s glasses are probably the thing most soap viewers recall, followed by her 1980s look which incorporated large specs and a very frizzy perm.
Finally just making the top ten is Viv Hope (Deena Payne) the Emmerdale village postmistress who dressed like a businesswoman; her attitude was snobbish and her penchant a good gossip, unless she was the gossip. Having arrived in 1993 the character was dispatched in a blazing inferno in 2011 in which her brightly coloured power-dressing jackets went up in smoke.
Mandy Dingle has always been bold with her colours.