Brendan Coyle

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Brendan Coyle
Born (1963-12-02) 2 December 1963 (age 50)
Corby, Northamptonshire, England, UK
Occupation Actor
Years active 1992-present

Brendan Coyle (born 2 December 1963) is an English-born Irish actor.[1] He is well known to television audiences for playing Nicholas Higgins in the miniseries North & South, Robert Timmins in the first three series of Lark Rise to Candleford, and John Bates, the valet, in Downton Abbey. The last role earned him a nomination for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series and a BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Early life[edit]

Coyle was born in Corby, Northamptonshire, to an Irish father and Scottish mother.[1] He reportedly holds dual British/Irish citizenship.[citation needed] He is a greatnephew of football manager Sir Matt Busby.[2]

He studied drama in Dublin in 1981 and received a scholarship to Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in the United Kingdom in 1983.[1]


Brendan Coyle received a Laurence Olivier Award in 1999 for his performance in Conor McPherson's The Weir and won a New York Critics Theater World Award for Outstanding Broadway Debut for the same play in its New York production.[1] In 2001, Coyle appeared in the film Conspiracy as Gestapo Chief Heinrich Müller. He played Kaz Sweeney in the British drama, True Dare Kiss, and Nicholas Higgins in North & South for the BBC.

Since 2008, he has played Robert Timmins in three BBC series based on the Lark Rise to Candleford novels, written by Flora Thompson. In 2010, he began playing John Bates, valet and former British Army batman to the Earl of Grantham in Julian Fellowes's period drama series, Downton Abbey. Fellowes wrote the part for Coyle, and it won him nominations for a BAFTA and IFTA.[3] In 2012 Coyle played the character of Terry Starling in Sky comedy series Starlings.

Personal life[edit]

Coyle divides his time between London and Norfolk. He is an avid supporter of Manchester United.


Year Film Role Notes
1992 Fool's Gold: The Story of the Brink's-Mat Robbery Det. Sgt. Benwell TV movie
The Bill Chris Bailey TV series (1 episode: "Radio Waves")
1994 Ailsa Miles Butler
1995 The Glass Virgin Manuel Mendoza TV mini-series
Dangerfield David Walsh TV series (2 episodes)
1996 Silent Witness Liam Slattery TV series (2 episodes)
Thief Takers D.S Bob "Bingo" Tate TV series (16 episodes)
1997 The Last Bus Home Steve Burkett
Tomorrow Never Dies Leading Seaman - HMS Bedford
1998 Soft Sand, Blue Sea Gerry
The General UVF Leader
Happy Birthday To Me short
1999 I Could Read the Sky Francie
2000 McCready and Daughter Donal McCready TV movie
Paths to Freedom Jeremy Fitzgerald TV series (6 episodes)
2001 Rebel Heart Michael Collins TV mini-series
The Inspector Lynley Mysteries Richard Tey TV series (1 episode: "A Great Deliverance")
The Bombmaker George McEvoy TV movie
Conspiracy SS Maj. Gen. Heinrich Müller TV movie
Mapmaker Robert Bates
2002 Rockface Douglas McLanaghan TV series (7 episodes)
2003 Waking the Dead Martin Corgan TV series (2 episodes)
Single Paul TV series
2004 Amnesia D.C Ian Reid TV movie
Omagh D.S John White TV movie
North & South Nicholas Higgins TV mini-series (4 episodes)
2005 Allegiance Michael Collins
The Jacket Damon
Shameless Father Polish TV series (1 episode: "Episode #2.4")
Jericho Christie TV series (3 episodes)
The Ghost Squad Sgt. Ralph Allan TV series (1 episode: "Heroes")
2006 The Commander: Blacklight Carl Dirkwood TV movie
Soundproof D.I Dave Cox TV movie
Offside Duncan Miller
Prime Suspect: The Final Act D.C.S Mitchell TV movie
Perfect Parents Ed TV movie
2007 The Mark of Cain Davey Gulliver
Wedding Belles Priest TV movie
The Good Samaritan Lewis Farrell TV movie
Damage Aidan Cahill TV movie
True Dare Kiss Kaz Sweeney TV series (6 episodes)
2008 Lark Rise to Candleford Robert Timmins TV series (31 episodes: 2008-2010)
2009 Inspector George Gently Patrick Donovan TV series(1 episode: "Gently in the Night")
Perrier's Bounty Jerome
Blue Murder Derek Jowell TV series (2 episodes)
2010–present Downton Abbey John Bates TV series (25 episodes: 2010–present)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
Nominated - BAFTA Television Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (2012)
2011 The Raven Reagan
2012–2013 Starlings Terry Starling TV series
2014 Noble Gerry Shaw


  1. ^ a b c d Paddock, Terri (16 January 2006). "20 Questions With…Brendan Coyle". Retrieved 31 January 2011. 
  2. ^ "True Dare Kiss: Brendan Coyle interview" (Press release). BBC Press Office. 18 June 2007. Retrieved 31 January 2011. 
  3. ^ "Downton Abbey characters at PBS". Retrieved 2 February 2011. 

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