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Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge

Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge, who led poor James to run away in a giant peach, are now indelibly stamped with the features of Miriam Margolyes and Joanna Lumley (pictured in the 1996 film of Roald Dahl's classic). But they may still be nasty enough to be voted the worst fictional villains of all time in the Big Bad Read poll, to be launched on May 22 by publisher Bloomsbury Children's Books. Children can choose the worst baddie in books from a list of 50, or add their own, when www.bigbadread.co.uk goes live.

There is competition from Bill Sikes, Count Olaf and Bloomsbury's own star villain, Voldemort. But the object of the exercise is to promote another fictional school, H.I.V.E. (Higher Institute of Villainous Education) by new Bloomsbury author Mark Walden.

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