The miserly heartless Bah Christmas scoundrel Ebenezer Scrooge topped a Penguin Books poll commissioned to mark the 200th anniversary this week of British novelist Charles Dickens's birth.
Only Pip and Joe Gargery from Great Expectations and Betsey Trotwood from David Copperfield representing kinder faces among the favourites, with most readers preferring the more villainous Dickens characters. Though the list is heavily slanted towards Great Expectations and Oliver Twist, Oliver himself only made it to No 11.
Claire Tomalin, author of a highly acclaimed biography of Dickens, said Scrooge's popularity was surprising given that his 21st-century equivalent might be a banker. "But Dickens excelled in creating villains, and always gave them more energy and brio than his good characters, so that we never forget them."
Events were staged across the globe to mark Dickens's 200th birthday on Tuesday.