Emmerdale's Dawn, EastEnders' Phil and Coronation Street's Summer comp image

Stick a smile on it! Soap’s most miserable characters

Cheer up! It might never happen

Stick a smile on it – a selection of the most miserable characters in all of Soapland. From Leanne Battersby to Phil Mitchell, here’s our pick of the top sulkers in soap.

Life in Soapland isn’t easy, but this lot don’t even attempt to put a brave face on it. Sure, they’ve had reason not to smile over the years, but maybe now’s the time to turn that frown upside down.

So just who are soap’s most miserable characters?

Soap’s most miserable characters: Coronation Street

Coronation Street Leanne looking concerned
Life on the street has worn poor Leanne down (Credit: ITV)

Leanne Battersby

Jane Danson joined Coronation Street in 1997 as the eldest daughter of the Battersby clan – the soap’s  ‘family from hell.’ Leanne started off as a rebellious teenager, but life on the Street quickly wore her down to the miserable husk we see today.

Not long after arriving on the Cobbles, Leanne became entangled with Nick Tilsley. She’s kept coming back to Nick over the years. Years of trauma which included drug addiction, debt to Jez Quigley and being menaced by drug dealer Harvey Gaskell.

Partner Nick’s lies have done Leanne’s miserable outlook no favours. A match made in heaven, Nick is hardly Mister Cheery himself.

Summer talking to Aaron on Coronation Street, looking upset
Summer hasn’t had an easy life… as her miserable face suggests (Credit: ITV)

Summer Spellman

The ward of Billy Mayhew, Summer Spellman may have youth on her side, but she packs a pout that could put many of the Street’s older residents to shame.

Battling an eating disorder, unwanted pregnancy and a boyfriend recently revealed to be a gaslighting rapist, Summer certainly has reason for her faceache. But she could also do with a cheery storyline soon to find that sparkle.

Or, maybe she should head off to university after all, like she’s constantly threatening to do.

Coronation Street Eileen sitting in the Rovers looking perplexed
Come on Eileen! (Credit: ITV)

Eileen Grimshaw

Eileen is one of the soap’s most infamous battleaxes, and one half of a legendary feud between her and Gail Platt. Moving onto the street in 2000 with her two sons – Todd and Jason – in tow, Eileen quickly found herself in the midst of much of the street’s misery.

Her plight certainly hasn’t been helped by her hapless boys. Jason abandoning his wife at the altar, Todd breaking Sarah-Louise’s heart, then becoming a scheming, plotting pantomime villain.

Then, marrying murderous Pat Phelan, she found herself caught up in yet another Corrie serial killer storyline too.

Coronation Street might treat Eileen as comic relief, but her neverending plight is no joke. It took a bang on the head – rendering her unconscious and drastically altering her personality – to put a smile on the woman’s face.

Soap’s most miserable characters: Emmerdale

Dawn and Gabby glare at each other in an intense argument on Emmerdale
In her spare time, Dawn enjoys feuding with Gabby Thomas (Credit: ITV)

Dawn Fletcher

Dawn is Harriet Finch’s long-lost stepdaughter, with the ceaselessly grumpy Will Taylor as her dad. As it turns out, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree – the former sex worker hasn’t cheered up, not even after lucking into a life of luxury at Home Farm.

Since arriving in the Dales, Dawn has spent her spare time bickering with Gabby and being blackmailed and harrassed by ex Alex. Recent episodes saw Alex at death’s door following a hit-and-run attack, but one suspects that not even this will cheer up our Dawn.

Matty looking moody on Emmerdale
Moody Matty is haunted by a series of devastating deaths in the family… and a fiancée in Amy Wyatt (Credit: ITV)

Matty Barton

Matty Barton returned to the village in 2018, having transitioned in his time away from mum Moira. Matty’s return didn’t herald a new, cheerier version of the character though – presumably still haunted by the death of his sister (Holly, dead of a drug overdose) and father.

Although Matty managed to settle down in the Dales and even reconcile with his mother, this hasn’t brought him much happiness. Now shacked up with Amy Wyatt, he’s since been forced to shoulder her problems too. Most notably sharing a house with murderous young Kyle (whose father happens to be his mother’s own husband).

Amy’s proposal did nothing for Matty’s mood – suspecting that she’d only done it to win a custody battle.

Nate talking to Naomi in the Woolpack on Emmerdale
Is Nate one of soap’s most miserable characters? (Credit: ITV)

Nate Robinson

Nate was introduced as a man Rhona kissed while on a night out. Being drawn into the village has brought Nate little but misery. The long-lost son of Cain Dingle, he certainly shares his estranged dad’s sullen pout.

He’s had a daughter with Tracy Metcalfe and supported her through her post-natal depression. Obviously this wasn’t a very happy time, but even when they reunited, he cheated on her and sulked around when she left for a fresh start.

A recent romance with Noami Walters didn’t bring much more joy. In fact, she dumped him telling him she needed someone “with a bit more spark”. Hear, hear, Naomi!

Chas Dingle looking angry in EastEnders
Chas hasn’t had much reason to smile recently, but still (Credit: ITV)

Chas Dingle

Admittedly things have not been easy for Chas Dingle recently. Losing her mum in devastating circumstances is difficult for even the cheeriest.

However, she sought comfort in Al Chapman, cheating on husband Paddy – and even that didn’t make her crack a smile. She thought she’d lost everything, but has been welcomed back into her family’s bosom, is still living and running the pub she loves and has managed to keep daughter Eve under her roof.

She’s even got Paddy back on side as he tries to recover from his mental health struggles that saw him attempt suicide.

Chas has got a fair amount going right for her right now, so someone needs to tell her that and get her to crack a smile once in a while!

Soap’s most miserable characters: EastEnders

EastEnders' Denise is looking suspicious
Past and future misery for Denise (Credit: BBC)

Denise Fox

Joining EastEnders in 2011, Denise Fox is a longstanding Square resident. As such, she has frequently found herself at the heart of much of the soap’s misery.

Life certainly won’t be getting any easier for Denise this year. A flash-forward sequence has revealed that, come Christmas, she’ll find herself at the centre of a murderous conspiracy in The Vic.

Recent scenes have seen her tempted into a fling with younger man, Ravi. Although she never actually went through with sleeping with him, her reasoning for potentially straying from husband Jack was because he treated her life a wife and a mother.

Sure, Jack has been somewhat annoying lately, but he loves Denise, arguably she is a wife and a mother – and all her whinging came because he was putting self-harming daughter Amy first. Doesn’t sound that unreasonable to us, when you think about it.

Phil looking moody on EastEnders
The iconic Phil Mitchell (Credit: BBC)

Phil Mitchell

Gangster, mechanic, alcoholic, husband, father, brother and son. Phil Mitchell has been a lot of things over the years, and he’s done almost all of it while in a state of apoplectic rage.

Many have fought Phil for his crown of Walford’s top gangster, but none can match the man when it comes to sulking.

He’s had two of Walford’s finest – Kat and Sharon – arguing over him. He’s chosen Kat, won her from the ever-charming Alfie Moon, and they’re getting married at Christmas. Stick a smile on it, Phil, life could be worse!

Phil Smashes a Car! | EastEnders

Who’s the moodiest of them all? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and let us know what you think!

Joel Harley
Freelance Writer