Soapland's biggest con artists - ranked!

Claire Crick
Photo credit: PicSelect/ITV/DigitalSpy.com/VA - Getty Images

From Digital Spy

Soaps are awash with villains and crooks, but while we're used to murderers wandering the streets of our favourite shows (it's a dangerous place, that soapland!) sometimes as the old saying goes, it's the quiet ones you have to be most careful of.

Con artists are usually all sweetness and light at first, while they manipulate whoever it is they're trying to wrangle money out of. And then when their sinister money-scamming ways are finally revealed they're long gone, probably living it up on a private beach somewhere with a mojito in hand.

With poor Sally Webster about to discover that she has been well and truly duped out of £40,000 of council money thanks to Coronation Street's smooth-talking newcomer Duncan Radfield, what better opportunity for a run down of the top 10 con artists in soapland? Believe us, it wasn't an easy list to write!

10. Rosemary Piper (Coronation Street)

Photo credit: ITV

While Corrie fans knew there was something fishy about clairvoyant Rosemary from the off, Audrey Roberts and Gail Rodwell were fooled by her claims that she was in touch with their dead loved ones. And when Rosemary insisted that she was able to lift a curse that had been put on them by Gail's dead ex-husband Richard Hillman, she had her lured in. Hook, line and sinker.

But of course Rosemary isno more psychic than a sausage sandwich from Roy's Rolls and it soon became apparent that she was working for none other than Lewis Archer (see number 3 on our list). It seems she's been learning from the best.

9. Uncle Terry (Emmerdale)

Photo credit: ITV

When Terry arrived in Emmerdale apparently grieving for his nephew Gerry Roberts, it was clear he wasn't being entirely truthful. Before long Terry had poor Doug Potts running around after him, even selling his own car to raise some funds to help the 'distraught uncle'.

But of course Doug was being conned big time and a phone call revealed that Terry wasn't related to Gerry at all. Poor Doug!

8. James Willmot-Brown (EastEnders)

Photo credit: BBC

Walford's poshest family started fleecing the locals out of their homes and businesses in an attempt to get their hands on the Square so it could be redeveloped into luxury flats, and of course their patriarch James was the man leading the take-over.

But it wasn't just his kids he was using to wangle money out of people like the Carters and Ian Beale. He also had Max Branning on his team who was on a vendetta for revenge and only too happy to help bring Walford down.

Unfortunately for Max it eventually transpired that he too was being scammed by the family, not only was his girlfriend Fi Browning using him for his local contacts, but Willmot-Brown had no intention on honouring his part of the contract that promised Max a load of cash and a penthouse apartment.

7. Tracy Barlow (Coronation Street)

Photo credit: ITV

Tracy's renowned for her sharp tongue and evil ways, and has spent her life conning people out of their hard-earned cash. She's even been too prison for murdering boyfriend Charlie Stubbs back in 2007, but her biggest scam to date has got to be leading Roy Cropper to believe that they had a one-night stand, resulting in her getting pregnant.

Finding herself pregnant with Steve McDonald's baby, Tracy lied that Roy was actually the baby daddy, knowing that he and Hayley were desperate for a family of their own. She told the couple that they could have full custody of her baby in return for £20,000 which they agreed to. Of course the whole thing was a lie and poor Roy and Hayley's dreams of having a child were shattered.

6. Aunt Babe (EastEnders)

Photo credit: BBC

Despite being an all round wrong'un, one thing Aunt Babe likes more than anything else was a good old-fashioned scam. As well as helping Abi Branning fake a pregnancy to keep hold of gay boyfriend Ben Mitchell, she also blackmailed Les Coker out of cash when she found out about his female alter ego, Christine.

But Babe's worst crime happened years ago when she ran an illegal adoption service - scamming vulnerable mothers to hand their babies over, and selling them to couples who were desperate for a family. She might have only been in Walford for three years, but that was more than enough time for Babe to do her worst.

5. Charity Dingle (Emmerdale)

Photo credit: ITV

When it comes to conning people out of cash, Charity Dingle does it in style. She usually has some sort of disguise to help her go under the radar, and it's fair to say she has a penchant for a wig as well!

Her favourite scam over the years has been to con wealthy men with her feminine charm, often using Cain Dingle as her sidekick. The pair have been known to steal cash and fast cars, all in an attempt to get rich quick.

One of the biggest scams Charity pulled was offering Zoe Tate custody of her son Noah in return for £20,000 (seems to be the going rate for a baby in soapland!) and the evidence that Chris Tate had taken his own life, securing herself freedom from prison after she was framed for his murder and sentenced to life in prison.

With fake timeshares and money laundering under her belt, there's nothing Charity does without it having some sort of financial reward for her.

4. Andrea Sommers (Neighbours)

Photo credit: Channel 5

When it comes to scamming people, you can't get much lower than pretending to be someone's dead wife and using your uncanny likeness to her as a way of conning someone out of their life savings. But that's exactly what Andrea Sommers did when she turned up on Ramsay Street, pretending to be Toadie Rebecchi's late wife Dee Bliss.

Fast forward a huge amount of heartache (Toadie) and manipulation (Andrea) and Erinsborough's resident lawyer is now finding himself caught up in yet another battle with Andrea after it turns out their one off night of passion resulted in baby Hugo. Brace yourselves for yet more scamming to come now that Andrea has the ultimate bargaining tool… their son.

3. Lewis Archer (Coronation Street)

Photo credit: ITV

When it comes to charming people out of cash, Lewis has got it down to a fine art. Despite the fact he was charged with stealing money from Peter Barlow's bookies back in 2010 after using fraudulently franked betting slips, Lewis still managed to worm his way back in to Audrey Robert's good books.

But a leopard never changes its spots and it wasn't long before Lewis was up to his old tricks again. During his second stint on the cobbles, the professional con artist managed to wangle £40,000 out of Gail Rodwell by getting her to fall in love with him and conning her into remortgaging her house so that they could move to Italy and open a hotel.

But just when we thought we'd seen the last of Lewis, he is back again. Targeting Gail through his new accomplice Rosemary Piper (see number 10 on our list). Lewis is set to return to Corrie this summer - let's just hope Audrey and Gail have changed their passwords on their online banking by now!

2. Janine Butcher (EastEnders)

Photo credit: BBC

When it comes to getting her hands on people's cash Janine's speciality is to woo vulnerable men with her charms until they propose, and it's definitely not a coincidence that three out of her four husbands have ended up dead!

First poor Barry Evans met his maker after she pushed him off a cliff before inheriting his estate, then she masqueraded as an orphan to lure Jewish man David to marry her before he died of a heart attack on their wedding day.

She has blackmailed Pat Butcher, became a millionaire after inheriting her grandmother Lydia's money, and when we last saw her in 2014 after being wrongly cleared for murdering fourth husband Michael Moon, she was boarding Eurostar with a glass of fizz, heading off to Paris to scam a couple who had won the lottery out of their money. It must be exhausting being so scheming!

1. Pat Phelan (Coronation Street)

Photo credit: ITV

Now, it might seem odd to have one of the most evil men ever to grace those famous cobbles on a list of con artists… after all he did murder three people in cold blood, hide bodies in a lake, relocate them to wet concrete… anyway, we're getting sidetracked.

It's easy to forget that evil Phelan started off life on Coronation Street as con artist. Okay, he's always had that sinister side of his and we should have realised there was a murderer in there just waiting to get out, but before his killing spree started, Phelan's biggest crime was conning people out of their money as part of the Calcutta Street flats scam. Who knew that his accomplice at the time, Vinny Ashford, would eventually end up his first murder victim just a year later.

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