Following Robert Pattinson’s win as Teen Choice’s best vampire, Donal O’Donoghue gets his teeth into the top five small-screen vamps of all time

On Sunday night, Teen Choice awards gave the specially created Best Vampire gong (actually a surfboard but what’s a creature of the night going to do with that?) to Robert Pattinson for his Twilight turn as Edward Cullen. Immediately the good folk at Entertainment Weekly were shaking pointy sticks at the decision and wondering how the hell that blonde bloodsucker, Eric Northman (as played by Alexander Skarsgard) from True Blood didn’t claim the top prize. Cullen is Byronic and brooding but he looks as scary as a sonnet. Northman on the other hand …

So we decided to raise the stakes (!) here at Number TEN and pick our favourite TV bloodsuckers of all time.

1. Alexander Skargsard in True Blood

Yes, we’re with EW on this. Skarsgard’s vampire is one of the meanest bloodsuckers on the box – a 1,000 year old Viking (Northman!) who is also the sheriff of the undead down on the Bayou. In other words, what he says goes. Skarsgard’s Northman is a complex character – a beguiling mixture of brawn and brawn and beauty – who adds bite to a series that is in danger of losing its grip. His scenes with Sookie sizzle and he’s a damn sight more compelling than goody-two shoes, Bill Compton.

2. Kurt Barlow in Salem’s Lot

Salem’s Lot was the scariest thing on TV at the fag-end the 1970s: even scarier than Garda Patrol and its flashing blue light. The mini-series’ horror pedigree was impeccable. It was adapted from a Stephen King novel, it was directed by Tobe ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ Hooper and it starred James Mason and, er, David Soul (hey you can’t win ‘em all). Anyway it was Reggie Nalder as the balding and befanged head vampire, Barlow, who had us all spinning in our sleep – bedevilled by images of this whey-faced monster looking into sight (Barlow’s image was based on the classic vampyr, Nosferatu). Check it out.

3. Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Angel (David Boreanaz) may have got his own spin-off show but we always preferred the bleached blonde badness of Spike (James Marsters). With his snarling attitude, spiky quiff and rock ‘n’ roll insouciance, Spike was the Sid Vicious of the Undead. The kick-ass bad boy was hundreds of years old and yet didn’t look a day over 30 – and was, not surprisingly a big hit with the ladies.

4. Count von Count in Sesame Street

He could count slowly or quickly but he never failed to set our pulses racing. That was Count von Count, the terror of Sesame Street. You may wonder why a vampire was the ideal character to teach the world’s children how to count from one to ten – maybe it was the fear factor – but this was a lovable vamp whose teeth looked pretty rubbish even to an anxious ten-year-old. Still I reckon he could kick Count Duckula’s butt while counting from one to ten with one hand tied behind his back.

5. Stefan Salvatore in The Vampire Diaries

In the town of Mystic Falls, Virginia (that’s a made up place by the way), a 17-year-old girl falls for a 162-year-old vampire. Hey, it happens! OK, so that’s the premise in a nutshell: the plot is another matter with blood and guts and love triangles and beasties. Based on a series of teen books, it centres on Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley), the 162-year-old vamp, looking so sharp that if his incisors don’t get you, those cheekbones certainly will. The fly in the ointment is his evil, older brother called, whaddya know, Damon. Slick, smart and sexy – in a 17-year-old loves 162-year-old way - this show comes from the writer who gave us Dawson’s Creek.