Shropshire Star

The Big Debate: Who is the wickedest TV baddie of them all?

Our favourite TV shows just wouldn't be the same without a good baddie - but who is the greatest small-screen villain? Matt Panter and Vicki Jones battle it out.

Actor Jack Gleeson played the villainous Joffrey in Game Of Thrones

Matt Panter: Joffrey is king of the baddies

They can leave us raging at the television screen at times. On other occasions, they can terrify you and give you a reason to root for a hero more. But let’s face it, a television drama without a villain – whether creepy, bitter, or just misunderstood – would be pretty dull.

Some of the great tv villains aren’t human – think of Doctor Who’s fearsome foes – The Daleks, Cybermen and The Master.

Then you have soap villains who, for me, can often stray into the realms of pantomime baddie. Boo, hiss! You have others who have a cheeky glint in their eye or a smile, like JR Ewing, which makes them more of a scoundrel.

So for me, there’s only one choice for the best TV villain, although his origins are in literature. Jack Gleeson’s portrayal of horrendous and truly hateful Joffrey Baratheon in Game of Thrones, was superb, making the beastly young king top of my list. I say this because he has no redeeming qualities whatsoever and paved the way for other twisted characters in George R.R. Martin’s world, such as Ramsay Bolton, to follow. Many of Joffrey’s acts are simply too horrific to recount with our dear Weekend readers but I’ll never forgive him for the beheading of honourable Ned Stark, the show’s lead character played by Sean Bean. I’ve never wanted a character to get his comeuppance more than Joffrey and, of course, he did so in an unpleasant way. He’s just lucky a vengeful Arya Stark didn’t get to him first, or it could have been even worse!

Vicki Jones: Soaps have the greatest villains

While there are undoubtedly memorable TV baddies in the likes of Game of Thrones and Doctor Who, you just can’t beat the soaps for some of the most dastardly!

While Matt is right, Joffrey in Game of Thrones was truly a thoroughly unpleasant piece of work, he was so evil that it is difficult to see him as anything other than a character.

Over the years, the soaps have given us an almost endless list of baddies and what makes them all the more memorable is that their reigns of terror can sometimes last months, all the while they are seemingly living normal lives alongside unsuspecting friends and neighbours.

Coronation Street’s Pat Phelan has to be one of the worst with charge sheet that includes accusations of attempted rape, fraud, blackmail, kidnap, false imprisonment and several murders. And in true TV baddie tradition, he tricked wife Eileen into believing he had drowned, before returning to the street to seek his revenge and being stabbed to death during a violent siege.

Emmerdale’s Meena Jutla was perhaps more terrifying, seeming to positively relish her campaign of crime which left three villagers dead. And EastEnders has had its fair share from serial cheat Dirty Den and ‘Nasty’ Nick Cotton to cold-blooded killer Janine Butcher, who pushed Barry Evans to his death off a cliff in Scotland.

What makes soap villains so great is that while we love to hate them while they are on our screens, it really seems that something’s missing when they finally get their just desserts.

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