Downton Abbey’s Brendan Coyle: Bates gets even darker in series four

The star of ITV's hit period drama says his character is going to get meaner still in the new series

If you thought being imprisoned for the murder of his wife was Bates at his baddest you’ve got another thing coming, according to Brendan Coyle.


The actor who plays the dedicated Downton valet has revealed that, although Bates was convicted of his wife’s murder, threatened at least one fellow prisoner with a knife and glowered a hell of a lot during series three, when it comes to mean and moody Bates us Downton fans haven’t seen anything yet.

Speaking to about the upcoming series of Julian Fellowes’ hit ITV period drama, Coyle said: “We see a darker and a more determined side to Bates than we’ve seen before in series four.”

But, we hear you cry, Bates was released from prison at the end of series three and his name was cleared. Well… could it be that Lord Grantham’s faithful servant was actually guilty? Or maybe that all those days wrongly spent under lock and key have left a permanment mark on him? 

When asked whether it was fun to unleash his mean and nasty side as Bates behind bars in series three, got a grin and the reply “Yes it was” before the 49-year-old actor teased: “And there’s even more in store for you this year…”

Brendan Coyle has played John Bates, loyal valet and now husband to housemaid Anna, since Julian Fellowes’ period phenomenon kicked off on ITV in 2010. 

Downton Abbey returns for its fourth series on ITV later this year


Brendan Coyle stars in Sky1’s Starlings. Series two starts on Tuesday 2 July at 9:00pm