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Top 10 TV Villains

Benjie Goodhart / 21 August 2018 ( 26 February 2021 )

We are taking a journey into the deliciously dark side of TV with our list of the most memorable and best TV villains.

Simon Cowell
X-Factor judge Simon Cowell is surely one of the most popular TV villains around. s_bukley /

We all love a good baddie, right? Nothing gets the pulse racing and the blood boiling as much as a really nasty piece of work, and the only greater joy than watching them wreak their Machiavellian havoc on the world is watching them get their comeuppance.

Everyone has their own monster they love to hate, and as such, any list is entirely subjective and far from definitive.

Our own list encompasses five Brits, one expat Brit, two Americans, a cat and a space traveller from the planet Kaled. You may well disagree with the choices, but you have to admit, this list contains no shortage of mendacity, scheming and downright evil.

Read our top 10 TV heroes

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10. Thomas Barrow, Downton Abbey

During his lengthy spell in the employ of the Earl of Grantham, Thomas rose from First Footman to Head Valet to Under Butler to Butler, in spite of the fact that pretty much everyone hated him. It may not speak volumes for the Earl’s personnel management, but it certainly added to the entertainment.

Whatever his nominal title, Thomas always saw his main job as scheming and stirring, and he wasn’t short of talent. He tried to have poor Mr Bates fired (more than once), stole wine, tried to blackmail an ex-lover, dabbled in the black market, and rarely passed up an opportunity to indulge in acts of petty cruelty. But there were moments of humanity and warmth, and it spoke volumes for Rob James-Collier’s performance that, by the end, we’d almost grown rather fond of the sneaky devil.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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