'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.

He told the Radio Times: "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.

mr bates
Brendan Coyle as Mr Bates

"But what I will say is that every single f****r 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.

Brendan 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.... 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."

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."

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    Downton's new footman Alfred Nugent

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    Lady Mary, Lady Sybil and Anna

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    Mrs Hughes

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    Mr Carson

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    Shirley MacLaine as Martha Levinson

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    Shirley MacLaine as Martha Levinson

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