David "Brendan" Coyle (born 2 December 1962) is a British-Irish actor. He won the Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role for The Weir in 1999. He also played Nicholas Higgins in the miniseries North & South, Robert Timmins in the first three series of Lark Rise to Candleford, and more recently Mr Bates, the valet, in Downton Abbey, which earned him a nomination for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series and a BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actor
Brendan Coyle was born David Coyle in Corby on 2 December 1962, the son of a Scottish mother and Irish father. He has an older brother named Shaun, who works as a butcher. Due to his British birth and Irish heritage, he holds both British and Irish citizenship. He is the great-nephew of football manager Sir Matt Busby. He studied drama in Dublin in 1981 and received a scholarship to Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London in 1983.
Coyle received a Laurence Olivier Award in 1999 for his performance in Conor McPherson's The Weir and won a New York Critics Theater World Award for Outstanding Broadway Debut for the same play in its New York production. In 2001, Coyle appeared in the film Conspiracy as Gestapo Chief Heinrich Müller. He played Kaz Sweeney in the British drama, True Dare Kiss, and Nicholas Higgins in North & South for the BBC.