It will come as a shock to absolutely no one that Darth Vader has been named the greatest Star Wars villain of all time in a poll conducted by Radio Times.

The Sith lord, played by Dave Prowse in the original film trilogy, triumphed over other baddies including Emperor Palpatine to secure the title.

More than 10,000 viewers voted from a list of 16 villains including figures from earlier films such as Jabba the Hutt as well as recent additions to the Star Wars universe such as Adam Driver's Kylo Ren.

"Star Wars films and TV series may come and go, but Darth Vader will always be the ultimate villain. Truly, he is the Master."

Vader secured 3,422 votes - 33% of the total tally - and beat Palpatine, his nearest rival, by more than 1,000 votes.

The only surprise was that the margin of victory wasn't greater.

Known as Anakin Skywalker before his turn to the dark side, the towering Vader is best known to fans for his imposing black space suit, glowing red lightsaber and signature mechanical breathing.

Prowse, a Bristol weightlifter-turned-actor who was personally picked for the part by Star Wars creator George Lucas, died after a short illness in November aged 85.

David Prowse

In second place was Palpatine, famously portrayed by Scottish actor Ian McDiarmid, who secured 18% of the total with 1,897 votes.

Grand Admiral Thrawn from the Star Wars Rebels animated television series was at number three with 6% of the total and 636 votes.

Sith lord Darth Maul, known for his double-ended lightsaber, narrowly took fourth place with 632 votes, while bounty hunter Boba Fett was at five with 631 votes.

Cyborg Jedi hunter General Grievous, who features prominently in The Clone Wars television series, placed at number six with 4% of the total and 458 votes.

Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine

Greedo, Kylo Ren, Moff Gideon and Grand Moff Tarkin also feature among the top 10.

Huw Fullerton, sci-fi and fantasy editor at RadioTimes.com, said: "Never underestimate the power of the Dark Side.

"Over 40 years after he first wheezed his way on to our screens, it's clear that Star Wars' fans' faith in Lord Vader remains stronger than ever, with a third of the thousands who voted picking him as their favourite villain from the series.

The full results:
1. Darth Vader - 33% (3422)
2. The Emperor - 18% (1897)
3. Grand Admiral Thrawn - 6% (636)
4. Darth Maul - 6% (632)
5. Boba Fett - 6% (631)
6. General Grievous - 4% (458)
7. Greedo - 4% (399)
8. Moff Gideon - 4% (381)
9. Kylo Ren - 3% (354)
10. Grand Moff Tarkin - 3% (330)
11. Count Dooku - 2% (258)
12. Supreme Leader Snoke - 2% (224)
13. Captain Phasma - 2% (223)
14. Asajj Ventress - 2% (193)
15. Grand Inquisitor - 2% (178)
16. Jabba the Hutt - 2% (158)