Corby-born Downton Abbey star Brendan Coyle has hit out at fans who film him surreptitiously on camera phones.
The actor, 49, has become a household name thanks to his role as valet John Bates in Julian Fellowes’ hit ITV1 period drama.
In an interview with the Radio Times, the actor said: “One thing I’m really keen not to do is complain about the fact that I got a job that’s made me very successful.
“But what I will say is that every single person on the planet has a camera. I posed for about 40 photographs yesterday.
“I don’t mind stopping for a photograph, yes, sure, what I really mind is...” Coyle then did an impression of someone trying to secretly film him.
Coyle said that becoming a heartthrob later in life had not affected his love life.
He added: “I’m going to be 50 soon. It just doesn’t seem to be that important any more.
“I’m single, I’m looking for something meaningful...”
The former Lark Rise To Candleford actor added: “By the time you’ve been single for quite a long time, you can get quite specific about what you can and can’t put up with.
“If this TV success had come in my 20s, if I was young and I’d become a heartthrob, I would have been very stupid.
“I would have got into a lot of situations that I really wished I hadn’t. But in my 40s, that’s not going to happen.”
Coyle, whose alter-ego is languishing in jail after being convicted of murdering his first wife, said of his Downton role: “Any actor who told you that he didn’t want to get a hit show is a liar. It’s rare beyond belief.
“To get to do what you want at all is rare. Most of our struggles revolve around getting to do what we want to do, and be with the people we want to be with.
“These are our designs for life. I want to be with people who make me happy and do the things I want to do.”
He said of Downton’s success in the US: “The difference between LA and here is that there, the insiders, the taste-makers, they all love Downton. It’s much more effusive there. By contrast, the initial response over here was that it must be a cultural guilty pleasure.”
To the disappointment of the show’s fans, he hinted that the Bafta and Emmy-winning drama did have a shelf-life, telling the magazine: “I can pretty much say all of us know when Downton is going to end. This is a show with a finite life.”
Coyle, whose mother and other family members still live in Corby, is a patron of Lakelands Hospice in the town and returned to the county earlier this year when he attended two shows at The Core theatre staged by his cousin Helen King’s dance school.