So many are mourning what’s to become of the decades-long favourite that is Channel 4, that there’s more tributes doing the rounds than you can shake a TV camera at. Here at Roobla, we couldn’t help but add our own small contribution, but with something a little different to best-ever show, groundbreaking drama, etc. Ladies and gents, all hail the antihero, something C4 has done arguably better than anyone else.
But before we begin, what exactly is an antihero? Wikipedia, leading with a shot of Clint Eastwood in A Fistful of Dollars, explains it thus: “A main character in a story who lacks conventional heroic qualities and attributes, such as idealism, courage, and morality. Although antiheroes may sometimes perform actions that are morally correct, it is not always for the right reasons, often acting primarily out of self-interest or in ways that defy conventional ethical codes.”
All clear? Nope, us neither, but here goes…
Sister George Michael - Derry Girls
The final curtain is still relatively fresh from coming down on Lisa McGee's sparkling debut of a sitcom, leaving some superbly-crafted characters etched in our minds. As great as all the 'girls' were, however, it was the sharp-tongued, no-nonsense nun that constantly stole the show. Like Father Ted before it, the show had no problem with poking fun at religion, and this alternative woman-of-the-cloth - played by Siobhan McSweeney - did it brilliantly.
Richard O'Brien - The Crystal Maze
Ed Tudor-Pole and, more recently, Richard Ayoade have both done sterling work at presenting this unique test of brains, nerve and athleticism, but - as they no doubt freely admit - neither could hold a candle to the Maze's original host, Richard O'Brien. The Rocky Horror Show star, with his offbeat style and surprisingly good harmonica playing, always ensured that teams were kept guessing throughout, but always went home with a truly memorable experience, win or lose.
Jeremy Usbourne - Peep Show
The landmark sitcom that introduced us to David Mitchell and Robert Webb has made just about every one of these polls, and as much as we like to be different at Roobla, this listicle also had to tow the party line. 'Jez' (Webb), as he was also known, was the antipathy of flatmate Mark (Mitchell), which always made for riotous viewing. Going through life in his own outrageous way, Jeremy pushed the envelope time and time again but usually meant well(ish).
Paul Gascoigne - Football Italia
With Gascoigne's earth-shattering move to Lazio in the offing, Channel 4 leapt on the opportunity to beam top-flight Italian football into UK households. Unlike nowadays, this was arguably the best league in the world in the early 90s, with screamers flying in on a weekly basis, way before the Premier League was doing it. But it was Gazza who was the star of the show - villain, at times - and anyone who bore witness to that winning goal in the Rome derby of 1992 would be in no doubt about that.
Chris Evans - The Big Breakfast/Don't Forget Your Toothbrush/TFI Friday
The 90s and early noughties were as full-on an era in TV as you can get, and C4 was the chief antagonist. The face of much of the mayhem was undoubtedly the greatest broadcaster of his generation, Chris Evans. The ginger one has toned it down a bit since then, not least because segments like 'Fat Lookalike' are simply taboo in this day and age. It was great to see a one-off comeback special of TFI Friday in 2015, but it really did bring home how times have changed.
Father Jack Hackett - Father Ted
If anyone or anything embodied this unapologetically sacreligious comedy classic, it was the character of Father Jack. A cantankerous, red-blooded alcoholic, he made life all the more difficult for the long-suffering Ted - and took great pleasure in it as well. But Craggy Island would've been a much less entertaining place otherwise, and Frank Kelly's delivery of Jack's pithy catchphrases was pure class. We'll 'drink' to that.
The Dictionary - Countdown
Let's end with a proper curveball and the programme that kicked everything off for Channel 4 all those years ago. Wondering what the hell the humble dictionary is doing on this list? Well, imagine you're sat in one of the Countdown contestant chairs, you've just come up with what you think is a brilliant nine-letter word, and then Susie Dent opens up the holy book only to tell you: "It's not there I'm afraid. Bad luck." Harsh maybe, but without it the show just couldn't go on.
Anyone we've missed out? Let us know in the comments if there's someone - or indeed something - deserving of a mention!