EastEnders: The worst Dads in Walford

As Danny Dyer claims to be the soap's first decent Dad, we look back at some of the Square's worst Fathers. It's quite a roll call of shame....

“I don’t think EastEnders usually portrays good fathers,” says newcomer to the Square Danny Dyer in an exclusive interview in this week’s Radio Times. “They’re often quite dysfunctional.”


Well, you can say that again.

And yet the interesting thing about Dyer’s character, Mick Carter, is that he is actually pretty good at rearing children, most recently showing immense sensitivity, compassion and understanding when his son Johnny (Sam Strike) came out as gay.

As he puts it: “I’m one of the first to come in and be a really good parent. I think that’s what was needed. Plus they used the perception of what I’m known for and spun it on its head.

“It was a gamble,” admits the star, who is better know for rather thuggish roles. “But I’ve had letters from young gay men who’d been too scared to come out, but who did so after watching that episode.”

But while everyone likes a progressive new man – especially one played by an actor against type – we also love our Walford villains. And the villains, usually, have also been pretty cruddy parents, as the list below reveals.

So sit back, have your therapist on speed dial and take a look at our guide to the worst fathers in E20.

We’d also like to know if you agree with our rating on our new, exclusive and I’m sure you’ll agree highly scientific BadDadometer (where the highest score is indicative of how bad they are – a low score means that they may be a bit rubbish but they’re doing their best. Sort of).

Den Watts

The soap’s first ever villain, he sure was a charming one. But the fact that this married man slept with Michelle, the best friend of his daughter Sharon, and made her pregnant, puts him on our list.

BadDadRating 4/10

Nick Cotton

A definite contender for worst human being in Walford, never mind the worst Dad. Among the list of crimes committed by despicable Nick is trying to get his own daughter Dotty to kill his Mum Dot (whom he also tried to poison himself). Cup of tea, Ma? 

BadDadRating 10/10

Phil Mitchell

Potato-faced hardman Phil could learn a lot from Mick Carter about how to handle a son who tells you he is gay. When Ben told his Dad Phil he wasn’t into the opposite sex, Phil reacted – how shall we put it? – quite badly. A man with the sensitivity of a lavatory seat, Phil has proved to be a pretty terrible father all round to Ben and his daughter Louise. Another low point came when he introduced the not so lovely Stella to his son – turning a blind eye when she started physically abusing him.

BadDadRating 9/10

David Wicks

David Wicks makes our list for what he nearly did rather than what he actually did. But we think you will agree that putative incest is still a pretty rum deal. This dodgy cove nearly had an affair with his daughter Bianca, you see, but to be fair he didn’t know she was his daughter at the time. But maybe he should have. Which is why he’s a bad Walford Dad in our book. But maybe not that bad… 

BadDadRating 2/10

Max Branning

They don’t make good parents, these Brannings, a fact amply displayed by the fatherly talents (or otherwise) of Max Branning who had an affair with his son Bradley’s fiancée, Stacey. Nice. Still, his bad behaviour was exposed in one of those Christmas Day melodramas EastEnders does so well, so we viewers can excuse him – even if Bradley (now deceased) might have found that a little difficult to hear. 

BadDadRating 5/10

Jim Branning

He had a number of children but wasn’t conistently kind to any of them – displaying either favouritism or neglect in equal measure. When his eldest son Max was blamed for stealing and losing a precious medal, he severed all ties with him. Was also alleged to have locked Max in a coffin when he was a schoolboy as a punishment, Max claimed (though this was later said to be the work of someone else), for having a non-white friend at school. So. Said to be a bit racist AND a crap Dad. But some of that’s just hearsay, so…

BadDadRating 8/10