Brendan Coyle as Bates in Downton AbbeyDownton Abbey‘s unlikely heart throb Brendan Coyle, who plays suspected murderer Bates, has revealed the cast know when the show will finish.

‘I can pretty much say all of us know when it’s going to end,’ he says. ‘This is a show with a finite life. If we bring this into the ’50s, it’s Emmerdale.’

Meanwhile, Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary) believes she knows the secret to the show’s success. ‘What it boils down to is the writing,’ she says. ‘Julian Fellowes is incredibly talented. He’s created 18 lead characters, each with their own story lines.’

She adds, ‘The audience gets a nostalgic feeling for the period. It’s a time without the internet, without mobile phones. It was an easier sort of period that people look back on and find heartwarming.’

Downton Abbey is on ITV1 tonight at 9pm.