Michelle Styles reveals the true reason why she and her daughter watch Downton Abbey -- Brendan Coyle
During the past week, much has been written in the British press about the surprising appeal of Downton Abbey. Some have postulated that it is due to Hugh Bonneville and his ability to set hearts fluttering, but my daughter and I would disagree. It is the character of Mr Bates, Lord Grantham's valet as played by Brendan Coyle who excites interest. We are both willing the romance between Mr Bates and the upper housemaid Anna to happen. My daughter muttered darkly under her breath that if Bates bringing Anna a tray of food when she was ill was not pivotal moment, she'd be upset. We are sitting there, willing him on to his Happily Ever After and can totally understand why Anna has a secret crush on him.
He is the linchpin of the series.
You could say that it is the character of Bates with his quiet leadership, integrity, stoicism and humanity that appeals but that would be doing a grave disservice to the actor Brendan Coyle. He is playing the character of Bates like that.
Brendan Coyle is a long serving character actor who has won many awards, including the Olivier. He played Nicolas Higgins in North & South and Laura's father in Lark Rise to Candleford. And while, he might not have matinee idol looks or the edge of a bad boy, he has heart and integrity. The characters he plays are the old fashioned leaders, good men who do step up the plate when required but don't blow their own trumpet. They make the hard choices and stick by them. He plays characters who give respect when respect is required.
If you ever wanted to see how a quiet alpha hero acts, you could do worse than watch Brendan Coyle in Downton Abbey, North & South or Lark Rise to Candleford. There is just something about his eyes and his manner. You can tell his heart is pure and for those he believes in, he will do his all.
Refreshingly there is little about his private life. He is a mixture of Scottish and Irish and perhaps this explain the quality of his voice. He is the great nephew of Sir Matthew Busby of Manchester United football fame. His father died when he was young and that a production of Richard III had a great influence on him. Hooray that he keeps himself to himself and lets his acting stand alone.
Downton Abbey will be coming to PBS Masterpiece Theatre in January and currently showing ITV in the UK. I have yet to see episode 4 and so shall be watching with crossed fingers that his character continues to display that wonderful quiet integrity. There are many reasons to watch Downton Abbey but Brendan Coyle is surely one of them.
Michelle Styles writes historical romance for Harlequin Mills& Boon Historical. Her next UK release is The Viking's Captive Princess and in North America A Question of Impropriety. Her Online Serial -- His Stand Bride starts on eharlequin on 15 November. You can find out more about Michelle's books on her website.