Categories: MOVERS & SHAKERS

Heroes & Villains – The Best & The Worst People of 2019

‘The Steeple Times’ chooses the 25 best and 25 worst people of the last year and the 25 who’ll be missed and the 25 who won’t

Happy New Year to all our readers. Our ‘Heroes & Villains’ list went down a storm in 2018, so as we move into 2020 today we’ve expanded it further with an additional category for 2019 – “those who won’t be missed.”


Given the dramatic political developments in Britain and America obvious names such as Donald Trump and Boris Johnson are worthy but too obvious to feature and we’ve also chosen to leave out those who appeared in 2018 – some of whom, like for example Sir David Attenborough, Carole Cadwalladr and Lord Heseltine did especially great things again in 2019 and some who didn’t, amongst them Sir Cliff Richard, Gloria Hunniford and Sir Philip Green.


Our Selection Committee: Concierge company founder Navjot Dhanoa, award winning investigative journalist and British Press Awards 2012 ‘Political Journalist of the Year’ David Hencke, restaurant critic David G. Lennox, consultant ophthalmic eye surgeon Laura Steeples, former BBC executive Claire Rubinstein and editor-in-chief of The Steeple Times Matthew Steeples. We thank you all for your suggestions and input.


Clive Swift, best known for playing Hyacinth Bucket’s better-half, Richard, in the brilliant BBC comedy series ‘Keeping Up Appearances’ wins our award for the person who’ll be most missed in 2019.


Iris Apfel

Spritely onagenarian Iris Apfel lived by her mantra of “more is more and less is a bore” again in 2019. In spite of being 98 years old, she became an ambassador for the Magnum ice cream brand.

Dina Asher-Smith

In 2019, Orpington born Dina Asher-Smith morphed from a park runner to a world-beating superstar. This 24-year old firecracker became the first British woman to win a world sprint title.

Michael Bloomberg

The former Mayor of New York City finally did what we all wanted and declared he’d be running against Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential race in November. This billionaire businessman has the resources and brains to beat the most ridiculous president in history.

Katie Bouman

In April 2019, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of Michigan educated computer scientist Katie Bouman became the first person to take the first picture of a black hole. She was modest about her achievement, but sadly was trolled in the most vitriolic fashion.

Kay Burley

Formerly the nasty woman who made Peter Andre cry, Kay Burley became quite something else in 2019. In November, she performed the brilliant action of empty chairing the nasty piece of work Conservative Party chairman James Cleverly the “empty chair” treatment when he missed a planned appearance on her Sky News breakfast show.

The Duchess of Cambridge

Unlike her brother-in-law and his mendacious wife ‘MeGain,’ the former Kate Middleton didn’t put a foot wrong this year. She has morphed into one of the most dignified members of the royal family.

Mark McGowan

‘The Artist Taxi Driver’ (alternatively known as ‘Chunky Mark’) was a most definite star of the 2019 General Election campaign. His description of ‘Bosie The Clown’ as a “deceiver” sums up our lying, love cheat Prime Minister perfectly.

Richard E. Grant

Swazi-English actor and perfumer Richard E. Grant deservedly won his first Academy Award for his role in Can You Ever Forgive Me? in 2019. He was decidedly modest about it and simply said: “It was beyond anything I could have ever hoped or dreamt or imagined.” A true gentleman.

Baroness Hale

The President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom was decidedly clear when Gina Miller’s case came before her. It was for a spider brooch she sported that Brenda Marjorie Hale became most famous, but her guest editorship of Radio 4’s Today programme  in December resulted in what was certainly their finest episode of the year.

John and Irene Hays

Hays Travel owners John and Irene Hays bought Thomas Cook in October and saved thousands of jobs. They amusingly declared: “We’re no country bumpkins.”

Dewayne Johnson

“The man who beat Monsanto” was the first cancer patient to successfully take that poisonous company to trial in 2018. In 2019, this Bay Area groundskeeper fought on and refused to cave in when they challenged the damages most rightly awarded to him.

2019 WINNER – BEST PERSON – Lorraine Kelly

In November, The Steeple Times declared the ‘Queen of Daytime TV’ Lorraine Kelly our ‘Hero of the Hour’ after she had a pop at Boris Johnson’s alleged mistress during a live segment. She of the ‘Gorbals gobbledygook’ finally morphed into a “gritty heroine of our times.” We salute you, Lorraine.

Gina Martin

After a man took photos up her skirt in broad daylight whilst waiting to watch The Killers perform, Gina Martin ran the campaign that made ‘upskirting’ illegal in April 2019. Here is a young lady who actually used social media for the good of all.

Khadijah Mellah

At just 18 years old, Peckham born Khadijah Mellah became the first hijab-wearing jockey in a competitive race in Britain in July 2019. She did brilliantly and won the Magnolia Cup at Goodwood.

Gina Miller

Businesswoman and philanthropist Gina Miller didn’t try to stop Brexit. She simply proved a point of law yet again in September 2019 and the Supreme Court backed her up. Miller’s detractors need to pipe down in 2020 as we can promise there’s much to come from this heroine to anyone who considers themselves a centrist.

Gavin Newsom

‘The Gavinator’ became the 40th governor of California in January. He then repeatedly told Donald Trump where to go. In December, he announced: “There is no Trump economy without California’s success.”

Nancy Pelosi

In December, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives impeached the most ridiculous president in history. Nothing more needs to be said.

Coleen Rooney

In October, Coleen Ronney morphed from a dumb footballer’s wife into ‘Wagatha Christie’ when she turned fire on fellow WAG Rebekah Vardy for leaking stories about her to the tabloids. She’ll make a detective yet.

Nasrin Sotoudeh

Courageous Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh was jailed yet again in March simply for speaking out about abuses in her country. In 2020, we should all support the campaign to free her.

Rory Stewart

During the 2019 Conservative Party leadership election campaign, Rory Stewart became a social media sensation. This fascinating former Labour Party member, ex-Conservative MP and ex-diplomat will now stand as an independent candidate in the 2020 London mayoral elections.

Ben Stokes

Turning his life around after being charged with bringing the game into disrepute in 2018, Ben Stokes led England to victory in the 2019 Cricket World Cup. Brilliant work, sir.

Steve and Lenka Thomson

Despite winning £105 million on the lottery in November, humble builder Steve Thomson went back to work a few days later. He didn’t want to let down his clients (and then didn’t even charge them). What a decent chap.

Mrs Piece of Toerag

Nobody in the media knows her name as far as we are aware, but this Uxbridge resident made very clear her thoughts about the now Prime Minister in October. She answered a question from Sky News by stating: “Don’t speak to me about that filthy piece of toerag.”

Matt Zarb-Cousins

Former gambling addict (and former spokesman for Jeremy Corbyn) successfully spearheaded the campaign to reduce the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals stake in 2019. He is to be saluted for helping end this scourge.

Volodymyr Zelensky

This actor and comedian bizzarely became the 6th President of Ukraine in May. Where’s the joke in that?


Prince Andrew

The Duke of York’s 2019 was described as a “raging petrol bonfire” by Caitlin Moran in The Times in December, but it is for allegedly not being able to sweat and visiting Pizza Express in Woking that he’ll be remembered. Jeffrey Epstein’s mate should do the decent thing and disappear to a golf club in Sotogrande. Pronto!

Amer Abdulaziz Salman

Through his Phoenix Thoroughbreds “Ponzi scheme-like” operation, Amer Abdulaziz Salman brought shame on racing in 2019. He also found himself linked to a £4 billion cryptocurrency fraud. Bernie Madoff eat your heart out.

Jeremy Corbyn

The man who really actually really, really, really wanted Brexit destroyed Her Majesty’s Opposition in 2019. He ran a terrible election campaign and he couldn’t even count on Diane Abbott to put the right shoe on the right foot.

Dominic Cummings

This deviant worked against the national interest and secured his boss ‘Bosie The Clown’ victory. We don’t doubt he’s clever, but someone needs to send him to a decent tailor.

Sir James Dyson

After telling everyone how good Brexit would be for Britain, James Dyson bogged off to live in Singapore and New York. “F**k the rest of you” is plainly this hoover-upper’s mantra.

Janet Evans

Known for running the grubbiest bar in South Kensington, deranged Conservative councillor Janet Evans became the local area’s most ridiculous tweeter in 2019. She was described as a “complete arsehole” on TripAdvisor awful and likes putting her hands in dustbins also. Weird.

Vanessa Feltz

In December, the 57-year-old harpy Vanessa Feltz announced she likes “spectacular, athletic sex.” Please, pass the sick bucket.

Darren Grimes

In 2019, spotty ex-BeLeave founder Darren Grimes announced on Twitter: “Boris Johnson could urinate through my mam’s letterbox and I’d still vote for him.” What a charming specimen.

Matt Hancock MP

Tory Health Secretary came out with the most stupid statement in the 2019 General Election campaign. He announced: “Even if we didn’t have any new nurses, just by reducing the number who leave, you would end up with more nurses in the NHS.”

Tim Martin

The ultimate Brexit bore made a staggering £44 million after ‘Bosie The Clown’ won the election. We can reliably anticipate that this self-serving prick will never shut up about that now.

Ghislaine Maxwell

A close second for the Worst Person of the Year, Miss Maxwell disappeared in 2019 after her former lover, the paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, allegedly topped himself. Will this cretinous daughter of the late not-so-great ‘Bouncing Bob’ resurface in 2020 or is she hiding out in WITSEC or in Israel even?

Heather Mills

The former Lady McCartney and former hooker resurfaced in 2019 much to the chagrin of the nation. The vegan factory boss bragged that she’d won the “highest media libel settlement ever” in July (but failed to provide evidence to prove such) and then told the nation that pond slime was the “food of the future.” Off her rocker, but, hey, what’s new?

Pat Mountain

UKIP’s interim leader during the 2019 General Election was crucified by Sky News’ Adam Boulton in December. ‘Nan from Catherine Tait’s-lookalike’ has no clue what a constituency is, had no idea of the race of a “maybe” Indian candidate for her party yet claimed: “I stand ready to sail the good ship UKIP into clear waters.” ‘Prized Pillock Pat’ and her tribe won zero seats. Surprising that.

Isabel Oakeshott

Corrupter of democracy Isabel Oakeshott pretends to be a journalist. She is, in fact, a lobbyist and worse still, she’s the girlfriend of the wife deserter Richard Tice, chairman of the Brexit Party Ltd. Do not trust this manipulative wench with a bus ticket even.

Harvey Proctor

Crybaby and “complete tosser” Harvey Proctor childishly stormed out of an interview with BBC Breakfast’s Naga Munchetty in October. Convicted of caning young men back in the 1980s, this “kinky [ex] MP” then got himself £900,000 in compensation from the Metropolitan Police over their investigation into the Carl Beech allegations. It’s enough to make anyone rightminded want to hurl.

Jim Ratcliffe

This Brexit supporting billionaire told the public how good leaving the EU would be. And then he bogged off to Monaco. Hypocrite.

Jochen Schaefer-Suren

In January, the ultimate “neighbour from hell” unsuccessfully ran a campaign to try and close down Giovanni restaurant in Knightsbridge. He lost and now he’s thankfully moved on to sadly plague the residents of another area of London. A genuine nuisance and an utterly nasty piece of work.

David Starkey

Our ‘Wally of the Week’ in November, a man with the plumiest accent on the planet in spite of being the son of a cleaner, David Starkey disgraced himself when he said that soldiers “really enjoy killing.” He went further and announced that he considered wearing poppies to be a “crazy religious ritual.” Off to the loony bin with this angry, old fruitcake.

Jo Swinson

With her ludicrous policies of “revoke” and “all-women cabinets,” Jo Swinson was never going to go far. She ruined the Liberal Democrats’ chance of securing another coalition government and she let down all who supported remain. A great pity.

2019 WINNER – WORST PERSON – Larysa Switlyk

She who enjoys shoving sex toys up the bums of sheep that she has shot, Larysa Switlyk, has continued to kill endangered animals in 2019. It brings disgrace on the Trump family that they continue to associate with an evil blood hungry bitch who does nothing for conservation and embarrasses responsible hunters throughout the world.

Greta Thunberg

Described by Jeremy Clarkson as a “weird Swede with a bad temper,” Greta Thunberg does make some valid points. It’s just a pity she has been so manipulated by her devious money grabbing parents. Shame on them for robbing ‘Grating Greta’ of her childhood.

Richard Tice

Aside from leaving his wife to go off shagging the manipulative lobbyist Isabel Oakeshott, Brexit Party Limited chairman Richard Tice was discovered stocking up on yellow stickered goods in ‘Celebrity Waitrose’ in Belgravia in August. In December, the prat excelled himself and came only third out of five in Hartlepool in the General Election. Diddums.

Ian Towning

A very close third prize goes to the associate of the thankfully dead paedophile Max Clifford, Ian ‘Tosspot’ Towning. In November, this drag queen-esque horror – who runs a junk shop peddling crap just off the Kings Road in Chelsea, SW3 – flogged a piece of fake news to the Mail on Sunday in which he was lauded as an “expert on Monet.” This permatanned freak wouldn’t know the worth of a chocolate teapot.

Sarah, Duchess of York

Perhaps she can’t help herself given how thick she truly is, but in December ‘The Duchess of Dork’ surpassed herself. She told Vogue Arabia that the Jeffrey Epstein scandal was “nonsense.” Off to the funny farm with this national embarrassment.

Ambar Zohra

The worst kind of “pavement pest,” Ambar Zohra was visited by the police after she rammed into an elderly lady on a pavement scooter in July. This foul-mouthed piece of scum was then asked by Jane Morris, managing director of the loveliest shop in London, Percy Bass: “Where do you think you are from? The five floors of whores?” Vile.


‘Ginger’ Baker

Drummer and co-founder of Cream. This red-headed musician died in October aged 80 in Canterbury.

Gordon Banks

Footballer who formed part of the winning English team in the 1966 World Cup. He lost his sight in his right eye in 1972 and died in February aged 81.

Lord Bell

Tim Bell ran three successful general election campaigns for Margaret Thatcher. He headed Bell Pottinger for thirty years and sadly died in August after the firm collapsed in 2017.

Boone Pickens

Said to be worth around £377 million at the time of his death in September, American financier T. Boone Pickens left a final message on his website. It states: “If you are reading this, I have passed on from this world – not as big a deal for you as it was for me.”

Carol Channing

Seattle born Broadway legend Carol Channing was best known for starring in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. She died aged 97 in January.

Windsor Davies

Canning Town born actor Windsor Davies’ catchphrase was “Shut-up!” He was best known for playing Battery Sergeant Major Williams in the sitcom It Ain’t Half Hot Mum and died in January aged 88.

Doris Day

Screen legend Doris Day married four times. She was was a lifelong Republican, animal rights activist and also had an interest in Christian Science. She died in May.

Robert Evans

Known for his work on The Godfather, film producer Robert Evans passed away aged 89 in October. The Times’ obituary stated that he was “not known for his modesty in wives (seven of them) or unlicensed chemicals.”

Albert Finney

“New-style working-class hero and shooting star of the 1960s” Albert Finney once remarked: “To be a character who feels a deep emotion, one must go into the memory’s vault and mix in a sad memory from one’s own life.” He was “hailed as the new Olivier” and died aged 82 in February.

Peter Fonda

“Part of the counterculture of the 1960s,” actor, director and screenwriter Peter Fonda was the younger broth of Jane Fonda and the father of Bridget Fonda. He died aged 79 in Los Angeles in August.

John Haynes

Car workshop manual publisher John Haynes kept petrolheads busy for years. His DIY books made him a fortune and in due course he opened his own motor museum. The 81-year-old died in February.

John Jesse

“Stylish art dealer” John Jesse was credited with “popularising the term Art Deco.” In their obituary of this 83-year-old, who died in September, The Times concluded: “An epicurean to the end, shortly before his heart unexpectedly failed, he enjoyed a gourmet lunch.”

Karl Lagerfeld

The fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld was the creative director of Chanel from 1983 until his death in February. He was known for his “signature white hair and black sunglasses.”

Niki Lauda

Austrian Formula One driver Niki Lauda was almost killed in a crash in 1976. He survived and died aged 70 in May.

John McCririck

Old Harrovian eccentric John McCririck was nothing but flamboyant. He nicknamed his wife “the Booby” and refused to ever drive. He lost an industrial tribunal against Channel 4 in 2013 and died aged 79 in July.

Sir Jonathan Miller

Writer and director Sir Jonathan Miller was considered “one of the great British writers, satirists and stage directors.” He died aged 85 in November.

Toni Morrison

“Towering novelist of the black experience” Toni Morrison died aged 88 in August. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Beloved in 1987.

Terry O’Neill

The man who “captured the spirit of the pop and film world of the 1960s and 70s” with his camera, Terry O’Neill died aged 81 after a battle with cancer in November. He claimed he won the cooperation of “the beautiful people” by: “Compliments. More compliments, that’s it,… And, well … you could add a few more compliments.”

Alfred K. Newman

Renowned Navajo code talker Alfred K. Newman died in January aged 94. With his passing there are now only around ten code talkers left.

Barrington Pheloung

Inspector Morse theme tune composer Barrington Pheloung also hid clues and red herrings in the score for the TV series. He was born in New South Wales and died aged 65 in August.

Gary Rhodes

“Chef’s chef” Gary Rhodes “put black pudding back on the culinary map.” He was just 59 when he died in Dubai in November.

Peter Sissons

Liverpool born newsreader Peter Sissons died aged 77 after a battle with leukemia in October. He was educated alongside Paul McCartney.

WINNER – MOST MISSED 2019 – Clive Swift

“Why don’t you leave the old cow?” asked a lorry driver to actor Clive Swift a quarter of a century after the last episode of Keeping Up Appearances. Of other fans pestering him, he remarked: “Sometimes I tell them to f**k off.” This Liverpudlian legend, best known for playing the downtrodden husband of Hyacinth Bucket, passed away aged 82 in February after a short illness.

Baroness Warnock

Philosopher Mary Warnock laid the foundations for special needs teaching and fertility treatment regulations. This mother of five died in March.

Franco Zeffirelli

Film and opera director Franco Zeffirelli found fame directing Elizabeth Taylor in The Taming of the Shrew in 1967. He also became a senator for the Christian Democracy and Forza Italia parties in Italy and died aged 96 in June.


Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi

Group leader of ISIL. He was killed in a US raid in October.

Nathaniel Berhow

Committed suicide after killing two fellow students at the Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California in November.

Gary Ray Bowles

Serial killer known as the ‘I-95 Killer.’ He was executed by lethal injection in August after murdering six men in 1994.

Frank Cali

Assassinated in March. A member of the Gambino crime family and known as ‘Franky Boy.’

Peter Ellis

New Zealand based childcare worker turned paedophile. This monster died in September.

WINNER – WON’T BE MISSED – Jeffrey Epstein

“Is Jeffrey Epstein really dead?” is a question that will no doubt be asked for many years yet. Though authorities suggest this billionaire paedophile was left alone unguarded and just hanged himself, others suggest he may either have been murdered or spirited away due to the secrets he held on the powerful. This evil creature deserves to burn in hell in any case.

Héctor Huerta Rios

‘La Burra’ or ‘The Donkey,’ as this Mexican drug lord was nicknamed, was “reported killed” in July.

John Humble

You’ve got to be sick to pretend to be the Yorkshire Ripper, but that’s exactly what a labourer named John Humble (AKA ‘Wearside Jack’ and later given a new name, John Samuel Anderson) did between 1978 and 1979. He died of heart failure caused by alcoholism aged 63 in July. Maybe he saw Peter Sutcliffe at the bottom of the bottle.

John ‘Don’ Imus Jr.

Shock jock Don Imus was described in The Washington Post as “the man who was always willing to go too far.” He died in December and will forever be remembered for referring to Jewish people as “bastards” and “sluts” and Arabs as “ragheads.” A total mental case.

Usman Khan

Responsible for the London Bridge attack in November and also convicted for plotting a terrorist attack in 2012, Usman Khan was shot dead by the City of London Police after killing two innocent people. He was anything but the “success story” that Cambridge University had once termed him. 

John ‘Bill’ King

This white supremacist was one of three psychopaths who killed a Texan named James Byrd Jr. by dragging him three miles behind a pickup truck on an asphalt road. The victim remained alive for most of his ordeal and King was executed by lethal injection aged 44 in April.

Keith Kinnunen

Homeless “religious fanatic” Keith Kinnunen gunned down two people in a church in White Settlement, Texas in December whilst wearing a fake beard. He was then shot dead himself by the church’s head of security.

Joseph Lombardo

“Joey the Clown” was an American mobster. He was also known as ‘Lumbo” and “Lumpy” and died in prison in October aged 90.

Bobby Joe Long

“The Classified Ad Rapist” Bobby Joe Long was a serial killer and rapist. He murdered at least ten women in the Tampa Bay Area of Florida in 1984 and was executed by lethal injection in May. His final meal was roast beef, bacon, French fries and soda.

Frank Lucas

Drug trafficker Frank Lucas allegedly smuggled his wares in coffins alongside dead American servicemen. His life was dramatised in the 2007 film American Gangster, in which Denzel Washington played him, and he died aged 88 in May.

Ivan Milat

“Backpacker murderer” killed seven in New South Wales, Australia between 1989 and 1993. In 2009, whilst in prison,  Ivan Milat cut off his finger with the intention of mailing it to the High Court of Australia to try to force an appeal against his 1996 conviction. He later went on hunger strike when he wasn’t allowed a PlayStation. Milat died in prison in October.

Robert Mugabe

Prime Minister of Zimbabwe from 1980 to 1987 and then President from 1987 to 2017, Robert Mugabe was a truly evil dictator. Peter Tatchell attempted to perform a citizen’s arrest on him in London in 1999.

Abul-Hasan al-Muhajir

The official spokesman of ISIL from 2016 until his death, Saudi national Abul-Hasan al-Muhajir was killed in a US airstrike in Syria in October.

Carmine Persico Jr.

Known as “The Snake” and “Immortal,” the boss of the Colombo crime family Carmine Persico Jr. died in North Carolina in March. He had been sentenced to 139 years in federal prison in 1986 for racketeering.

Rod Richards

Rod Richards was a very, very angry man. Elected a Conservative MP in 1992, he was forced to resign in 1996 after news of an extra-marital affair surfaced. In 1999, this Welshman became the Conservative Party leader on the Welsh Assembly, but was forced to stand down after allegations that he’d attacked a young woman. In 2008, he was arrested for attacking a Conservative Party worker. He simply described that incident as a “clip around the ear for being cheeky” and blamed his struggle to sleep. Richards died in July aged 72 and can now finally get some kip.

Michael Samra

Executed by lethal injection in May, Michael Samra callously killed a family of four in Shely County, Alabama in 1997. His last words were; “I would like to thank Jesus for everything he’s done for me. I want to thank Jesus for shedding his blood for my sins. Thank you for your grace Jesus, Amen.”

Thomas Silverstein

Former leader of the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang Thomas Silverstein (AKA ‘Terrible Tom’) was sent to prison for armed robbery in 1971 and again in 1977. During his second incarceration he killed four people and subsequently became the longest-held prisoner in solitary confinement having spent 36 years in such. Silverstein died in May.

Asim Umar

Militant Asim Umar was the leader of al-Qaeda in the  Indian sub-continent. He was killed in a joint US-Afghan raid in September.

Marion Wilson Jr.

The 1,500th person to be executed in the United States since capital punishment was resumed in 1976, Marion Wilson Jr. died by lethal injection in June. He had fatally shot an off-duty prison guard in 1996.

Zhao Zhihong

“The Smiling Killer” or “Demon” raped and killed at least six women in Inner Mongolia between 1996 and 2005. He was placed before a firing squad in July after an innocent man had previously been executed for his crimes.

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View Comments

  • Dear Matthew, have you included Clive James among the sadly missed? One of funniest and nicest people in the world....

  • This is always my favourite read.

    Its reminds us of all the great stories covered by the outstanding Steepletimes.

    Happy new year to all involved and the great Matthew x

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