12 British Anti-Heroes Who Make Being Bad Look Good

It's not just villains that the Brits do best...

The British don't just do villains the best, they also do wayward heroes, both in terms of the skewed, tragic fools like David Brent or Ray and Ken from In Bruges, and also the morally ambiguous heroes with a defining dark side. The good guys who aren't afraid to bend the rules €“ not just like Sherlock Holmes, but to the point of breaking €“ who charm and disarm in equal measure and who are inifinitely forgivable for their moments of darkness. Not only are they sympathetic figures, despite their lack of inherent goodness, and their broken moral compass, but they actually make their manifesto for sticking a middle finger up at the authorities and regulations look attractive. They aren't just good at being bad, they make it look like a good idea, and for that, they deserve to be heartily saluted. So from the worlds of Film, TV, Comics and Books, here are the British bad-asses you probably secretly want to be...

12. Elizabeth Hurley €“ Bedazzled (2000)

Of course the Devil would be British. And incredibly hot. The remake starring Brendan Fraser and Liz Hurley might not have been a patch on the original with Peter Cook, but Hurley's role as the great horned one is a perfect pitched, perfectly cast redo on an iconic character, and there's a lot to love.

11. Pagga Palmer €“ The Spy Who Bluffed Me

There's a good chance you don't know the name, or the face, but Neville Pagga Palmer deserves to brush shoulders with the very best of the baddest here. The Geordie bouncer is your typical council estate anti-hero, charming and ridiculously macho, but the difference here is that he has brilliant delusions of grandeur. In his own head, he's a sleeper cell spy, waiting to be reactivated, despite all logic, and the effect is just genius, especially when fate throws him the most unlikely opportunity to show off his true abilities. And if that's not enough of a sale on his legend for you, his book, The Spy Who Bluffed Me is available for free for the next five days from fine purveyors of Industrial Strength British fiction, Byker Books. So do yourself a solid one, and download it before the offer ends.

10. Gene Hunt €“ Life On Mars/Ashes To Ashes

He'd probably create an incredible amount of paperwork these days, but Hunt's firmly not-by-the-book style of policing makes him one of modern British TV's most iconic anti-heroes by some distance. He's corrupt, brutal and his grasp of political correctness leaves a lot to be desired, but as a good/bad guy there are few better.
Executive Editor
Executive Editor

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