Grant Mitchell has been voted as the soap character most television viewers want to see back on their screens.
The EastEnders hardman, played by Ross Kemp, was picked by one in five soap fans asked who they would most like to see make a comeback.
Coronation Street legend Hilda Ogden took second place, with 13% of the votes, and the Street’s Reg Holdsworth came third, with 8%.
Leigh Bennett, director of TV at NTL Home Digital TV, which commissioned the survey, said: “Although Grant Mitchell is the classic character the public love to hate, the popularity of Hilda and Reg in the poll suggests that soap viewers are also looking for something more than sensational bad boys.
“The results show that soap fans are craving the quirky characters that can inject some humour into soaps as well as create drama.”
Asked for their favourite soap comeback, almost one third of viewers picked Sharon Watts’ return to EastEnders as the new joint landlady of the Queen Vic.
Harold Bishop’s return to Neighbours after being washed out to sea and suffering amnesia came second, with 14% of the vote.
In third place, with 12%, was Raquel Watts returning to Coronation Street from Kuala Lumpur to ask Curly for a divorce and tell him he had a baby daughter.
The survey of more than 1000 people was carried out to coincide with Dirty Den’s much-hyped return to EastEnders.
Mr Bennett added: “The fact that many of these big comebacks have lived on in the memory shows what a TV institution they have become.
“Despite all the hype now, it will be interesting to see if Den’s return will be remembered in years to come.”
The top ten most wanted soap comebacks were:
1. Grant Mitchell, EastEnders 29%
2. Hilda Ogden, Coronation Street 13%
3. Reg Holdsworth, Coronation Street 8%
4. Kim Tate, Emmerdale 7%
5. Melanie Owen, EastEnders 5%
6. Charlene Mitchell, Neighbours 5%
7. Simon Wicks, EastEnders 4%
8. Frank Butcher, EastEnders 4%
9. Dan Sullivan, EastEnders 3%
10. Bet Lynch, Coronation Street 3%
The top 10 soap character comebacks were:
1. Sharon Watts, EastEnders 29% – Returns to reveal she is the new joint owner of the Queen Vic.
2. Harold Bishop, Neighbours 14% – Returns working with the Salvation Army after being swept out
to sea and suffering from amnesia.
3. Raquel Watts, Coronation Street 12% – Returned from Kuala Lumpur to ask Curly for a divorce and tell him he had a baby daughter.
4. Frank Butcher, EastEnders 12% – Turns up at Pat’s doorstep on Christmas Day asking for her back even though she is with Roy.
5. Nick Cotton, EastEnders 12% – Dot’s joy at moving into a new flat is ruined when the son who tried to poison her returns with the words ’Hello Ma’.
6. Bobby Ewing, Dallas 12% – Despite being dead for an entire season, Bobby reappears in Pam’s shower because season seven was all a dream.
7. Mandy Dingle, Emmerdale 3.5% – Just as things seem to be going well for Emily and Paddy, Emily opens the door to Paddy’s wife Mandy who has returned to sort out her relationship with Paddy.
8. Marilyn Chambers, Home & Away 1.7% – Reunited with the husband she left, Donald Fisher, in London at the launch of his book about their deceased son Byron.
9. Liz McDonald, Coronation Street 1.7% – Comes back from Milton Keynes to re-marry Jim in a prison ceremony.
10. Nicky Tilsley, Coronation Street 1.7% – Returned to the street from Canada and has an affair with Maria.