Downton Abbey's Brendan Coyle: Season 4 Is 'Absolutely Phenomenal'

Brendan Coyle speaks on the 'Downton Abbey' panel during the PBS portion of the Television Critics Association summer tour, Beverly Hilton Hotel, July 21, 2012 Brendan Coyle speaks on the 'Downton Abbey' panel during the PBS portion of the Television Critics Association summer tour, Beverly Hilton Hotel, July 21, 2012

“Downton Abbey” Season 4 is in the works and Brendan Coyle, who plays the beloved Mr. Bates, hinted it will be a good one.

“I’m going to stick my neck out and say this is our best series,” the actor told Britain’s Radio Times. “Series four is absolutely phenomenal. It’s a riot.”

Several new characters are heading to “Downton” this season, including Lady Cora’s playboy brother, Harold (Paul Giamatti), jazz singer Jack Ross (Gary Carr), Lady Mary’s potential love interest — Lord Gillingham (Tom Cullen), and a valet named Green (Nigel Harman). An old friend of the Dowager Countess – Lady Shackleton (Harriet Walter), the Duchess of Yeovil (Joanna David) and aristocrat Charles Blake (Julian Ovenden) are also on their way.

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Brendan said he believes the additional cast members have made the show even more intriguing.

“Instead of cutting back and cutting back and saying, ‘We have a success now,’ the producers want to expand. Not just in terms of bringing in more characters, but the variety of characters and the situations they find themselves in,” he said. “It’s not going to last forever but we’re all enjoying it very much. Like I say, this is our best [season].”

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Brendan said the cast misses those who have exited the series, including Siobhan Finneran, whose character, Sarah O’Brien (Lady Cora’s maid), is not expected to appear in Season 4.

“You miss people. I miss Jessica [Brown Findlay], I miss Dan [Stevens], I’m really going to miss Siobhan [Finneran],” he said. “You miss them because it’s a tight unit and they’re all great people and great actors, but they move on. And you just have to crack on.”

“Downton Abbey” returns to U.S. screens on January 5, 2014.

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