Downton’s Brendan is up for Irish TV honour

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Corby actor Brendan Coyle has been nominated for his first Irish Film and Television Award for his role in the hit television drama Downton Abbey.

The actor, who has become an unlikely heart-throb for his role as valet Mr Bates in the ITV blockbuster, is up for best supporting actor in a television role.

Mr Coyle says it is the uptight attitude of the characters which makes the show so gripping.

He said: “It was a different time. People couldn’t express themselves and communicate.

“Now we’re all encouraged to say what we think and what we feel and to express ourselves.

“People were not so much then, especially amongst the lower classes, and that restraint is something that is part of the appeal of the show.”

Downton Abbey was the most watched programme on Christmas Day, with total viewing figures of 11.6 million against 11.3 million for EastEnders.

In the two-hour show Mr Coyle’s character waited to hang for the alleged murder of his ex-wife.

He said: “It’s interesting, the social morals of the time, that stoicism and restraint I think is part of the appeal of the show.”

Presented by actor Simon Delaney, the ninth IFTAs will be broadcast in Ireland on Saturday, February 11, from the Convention Centre, Dublin.

Downton Abbey has also been nominated for four Golden Globe awards, and although Mr Coyle hasn’t been nominated the show is up for best mini-series.

The 69th awards take place on Sunday at the Beverley Hills Hotel, Los Angeles.