Downton Abbey's
John Bates got meaner and moodier last year and if you thought that was dark, apparently, we ain't seen nothing yet. Brendan Coyle, who plays Bates, revealed the character is about to get a whole lot darker in the fourth series, which, he has billed as the 'best series yet'.

Coyle plays Lord Gratham's car valet who was convicted of the murder of his wife last year and thrown into jail before getting his name cleared and released. However, it was within prison we saw the characters darker side. When questioned about if it was enjoyable to play the darker side of Bates, he said, 'Yes it was, And there's even more in store for you this year. We see a darker and a more determined side to Bates than we've seen before in series four'.

We don't know what exactly is in store for the character but we are expecting great things after Coyle told Digital Spy it was the best series yet. 'I'm going to stick my neck out and say it's our best series ever. It's certainly my best series ever. I'm really, really grateful for Julian for that. My storylines are phenomenal... And I'm not going to die in a car crash,' he joked.

Coyle, also went onto talk about his friendship with Shirley MacLaine, who plays Martha Levinson, prooving that even celebrities get star struck.  'We're in love and we're moving to Santa Fe. She's invited me to her ranch. I love Shirley MacLaine,' he said.  'I met Shirley for lunch and I very rarely get starstruck by actors - footballers yes, but rarely actors - but I think I spent most of that lunch saying, 'It's Shirley MacLaine! It's Shirley MacLaine'.

'She's great and she's seen it all. There's no airs and graces or front. She's able to laugh off the things written about her. When she's asked about the things said about her and Maggie Smith, she says, 'Well we were lovers in a previous life'. She's canny,' he added.

Downton Abbey will be returning to our screens in the Autumn.