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Bad News For Mr. Bates: Downton Abbey’s Brendan Coyle Banned From Driving After Being Caught Behind the Wheel Drinking!

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As viewers in the U.S. watch Downton Abbey’s sixth and final season on PBS Masterpiece, one of the series favorite actors, Brendan Coyle (Mr. Bates) has been in the news cycle the last 24 hours with some troubling news.

Coyle, who plays Lord Grantham’s (Hugh Bonneville) stoical valet who always seems to land in trouble on-screen, has gotten in serious trouble with the law off-screen. The actor was banned from driving for more than four years after he was found to be nearly three times over the drink-drive limit while driving home after flying back from a Thailand rehabilitation clinic for alchocol abuse.  He was reportedly drinking on the flight.

In the UK, the ‘Downton’ star appeared before King’s Lynn Magistrates’ Court under his real name of David Coyle.  He was stopped by police in his BMW on the A149 near King’s Lynn on January 1st of this year.

Not only was Brendan banned from driving for 50 months, but ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work.  He was also given a 12-month community order with 15 days rehabilitation activity to be supervised by a probation officer.

So, what do you think of this news regarding one of our favorite stars from Downton Abbey?  Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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I wish him well in his quest for a successful recovery. I also wish this wasn’t important to the media as his health and legal problems have no bearing on his art as a performer.

Mark Y

This has nothing to do with the soaps and there’s no reason for it being reported here.

Michael (not Fairman)
Michael (not Fairman)

Downton Abbey’s not a soap? I disagree with you there.

Mark Y

Downton is a grand and epic soap but Mr. Coyle’s personal troubles off screenhave nothing to do with it and this should be treated as a private matter.


Mark Y…last we all checked this was Michael Fairman’s site. We’re just “guests ” here so I think Michael kinda knows what falls under the category. It’s a UK, PBS broadcast to America, limited to much less years than the American daytime stories…posh soap. Sorta. Lol…it’s all good. Great show. Sad to see it end.

Michael (not Fairman)
Michael (not Fairman)

But if the mainstream media is going to report things like this (and of course they will), why wouldn’t the soap media, this site included?

And it’s not as though this is the only incident like this one that this site has reported; Mr. Coyle is not being singled out for coverage. When soap stars make the news, even in a negative light, it usually gets reported on here. Most recently in regard to Downton, I remember a story about Michelle Dockery’s fiance passing away. Not really any of my business any more than Mr. Coyle’s legal troubles, but I was glad it was covered and was very sad for her loss.

I’m not necessarily saying it’s right, mind you—in general, I agree that we know far too much about most TV and movie stars’ lives—just that it would seem odd to me if something newsworthy happened to a soap star and I saw coverage elsewhere in general media but nothing about it on here on a site devoted to soaps.

Mary SF

But neither does MB appearing on Dr OZ for his bipolar disorder,or ED family member passing away and both are listed on this site as recent threads– like it or not, soaps sites are as much about the personal life of the actors who play on the soaps as it is the soaps themselves— all I can suggest is if you not interested in any actor’s personal life avoid those threads and just read those that relate to the shows and or their stories.

However Mr. Fairman knows many viewers are interested the actors who work on the soaps and he includes these type of threads for their benefit—and he only reports on what is already been made public, which Mr. Coyle’s arrest did– it is not like TMZ that makes up stories and or exploits them. This site is only reporting what anyone with a search engine will find out if they type in this man’s name. Sadly this is the age we live in.


Oh poor Mr. Bates…Anna’s not going to be able to save you this time. And as much as I love the character, it’s sad news to learn of his addiction. Dangerous to himself…and apparently others. He deserves to lose his driving privileges, but he also needs more help. Too ironic that he was driving under the influence on his way home from rehab. Unless he never attended any meetings?

Hope this fine actor can find his way….


Oh, here we go (Y-E-T!!!!!) once again…another celebrity busted for drinking and driving!!!!! When, oh, when will these fools ever learn?!?!?!?!?! Dumb as hell.

Michael (not Fairman)
Michael (not Fairman)

“Dumb as hell” is a little harsh, but I have to agree with you that as much publicity as DUI has had over the last ten to twenty years, it’s hard to understand how people (famous or not) keep making this same mistake. I’m quite aware that alcohol impairs judgment, but isn’t that an argument for even greater vigilance if you’re out somewhere in public consuming alcohol and you drove to get there? Or even if you’re at home consuming alcohol and you know you’re going to need to drive within a few hours? (And by that I mean: if there’s even the slightest question you’ll be able to retain enough judgment to make a sound decision about driving, you choose not to drink. Some people’s judgment about what shape they are in is more impaired than other people’s; know which group you fall in and act accordingly.)

I will just be thankful—again—that nobody was killed or seriously hurt and hope that this is a wake-up call for him.


And this is not the first instance of Mr. Coyle’s utter disregard for the rest of humanity, jaybird369! There were numerous reports in the British press how filming had to be repeatedly postponed/cancelled on the Downton Abbey set because “Mr. Bates” was in such a shambolic state from his out-of-control drinking that he couldn’t even deliver or remember his lines. Hence though I found his “downstairs duo” with Anna to be a very absorbing tale, I often felt that his trademark brooding intensity was more real-life baggage than great acting….same goes for Joanne Froggatt’s unquestionably fine performances as his endlessly patient and supportive spouse….there were times she seemed so nervous and on edge for fear of setting off his foul temper….must have been a case of art imitating life….and yes, I intended that particular saying to be opposite to the usual fashion. Such an complete shame, too….this show has been an international smash hit, made mostly appreciative stars of its cast and to see it sullied by such belligerent behavior is beyond the pale. Julian Fellowes must have been an absolute saint to have put up with this conduct instead of just writing out the character of John Bates for good!

Jody Ruby

I’ll keep Mr. Coyle in my prayers and am proud of his decision to put his health first. He is one of the most talented actors in the world and I’m looking forward to watching him on Acorn and Hulu for many years to come.

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey Movie Project Moving Forward; Projected For Production In 2018


It looks like all of those earlier reports months ago about a production being put together for Downton Abbey: The Movie, may finally becoming to fruition. Numerous items detail that motion picture project is moving forward with production slated for sometime next year.

Michael Edelstein, president at NBCUniversal International Studios, told the AP: “We are working on getting the script right and then we’ve got to figure out how to get the (cast) together. Because as you know, people go on and do other things. But we’re hopeful to make a movie sometime next year.”

Currently, the cast and writer Julian Fellowes have been on hand at the Downton Abbey exhibition which debuted in Singapore. However, some notable members of the company seemed surprised by the news including Laura Carmichael (Edith): “Well, tell my agent, because we’re still waiting to know. We’re hoping that will happen soon.”

Variety reports that an NBCUniversal spokesman confirmed the studio hopes to put the movie into production in 2018.

The Downton Abbey exhibition however, is set to travel to the United States and Australia with dates to be announced. (more…)

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Downton Abbey

SAG AWARD NOMINATIONS: Downton Abbey Scores Drama Series Ensemble Nod; This Is Us Star Sterling K. Brown Tapped For Two!


Nominations were announced this morning for the 23rd Annual SAG (Screen Actors Guild) Awards for performances in motion pictures and television.

The awards ill be handed out Sunday, January 29th at the Shrine Exposition Center in Los Angeles. The ceremony will air live at 8/7c (5 p.m./PT) on both TBS and TNT.

For its sixth and final season, the British period soap, Downton Abbey once again made the finals in the Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama.  They will go up against, The Crown, Game of Thrones, Stranger Things and Westworld.  On the snub side: the widely acclaimed and highly-rated This Is Us failed to score a nomination in the category.

In addition, this is the first time that Dame Maggie Smith did not wind up with a Lead Actress in a Drama Series nomination for her performance as the Dowager Countess on Downton Abbey. (more…)

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Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey's Maggie Smith Shares Emmy Acceptance Speech; Asks Jimmy Kimmel To Direct Her To The Lost & Found To Get Her Trophy!


Leave it to the grand dame Maggie Smith to have fun with Jimmy Kimmel’s rant last night on the 68th annual Daytime Emmy about how perennial winner Smith never is on-hand in Los Angeles on Emmy night to collect her trophy when he name is called!

Smith, who has been nominated 9 times for an Emmy and has won 4 overall and 3 of them for her work as the Dowager Countess on the beloved British period soap, Downton Abbey, used social media via the Masterpiece PBS Twitter account and shared her acceptance speech on Monday, alluding to Kimmel’s last gag about her during the live telecast.

For Minnie Driver and Michael Weatherly were presenting the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series category, and when Smith was announced as the winner, and the duo were accepting the the award on Smith’s behalf, Kimmel came out from the wings and intercepted the trophy and let Smith know she has to retrieve it herself! Kimmel said, “No, no, no, no, no.  We’re not mailing this award to her. Maggie, if you want this it’ll be in the lost and found”.

Masterpiece PBS twitter shared, Dame MaggieSmith graciously accepts her #Emmy award — @jimmykimmel, please advise on the location of the lost and found! #DowntonPBS.

Smith’s acceptance speech read: “I was very astonished and pleased to win the award. I feel the Emmys has been overly generous to me. If Mr. Kimmel could please direct me to the lost and found office I will try and be on the next flight.”  She signed it, “Love, Old Maggie” (more…)

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