Downton Abbey's Brendan Coyle has revealed the scripts for the new season left him feeling shocked.
Brendan plays Mr Bates, a valet for the Crawley family, who has been suspected of killing Mr Green who raped Mr Bates' wife Anna. The show was created by Julian Fellowes and Brendan called the new scripts "a surprise", and revealed: "Julian never fails to drop your jaw."
"We couldn’t begin the series with that storyline. We had to have some abatement from that and there’s a sense of them trying to heal", said Brendan.
Brendan Coyle as Mr Bates in Downton Abbey He continued: "But it’s very difficult. We carry a heavy burden sometimes with our storylines, as a couple, because they have a rough ride. But sometimes I think that overshadows the tenderness and love and support they have for each other."
Speaking to The Mirror, Brendan added: "We have those moments. Those quite uplifting moments and moments of reprieve for us. Moments of love. Which you need."
The hit ITV show has been running for five seasons now and follows the lives of British aristocracy and their servants in the post-Edwardian era.
Brendan also spoke of the fun the cast have on set: "It’s a great bunch. We’re a bunch of old hams sitting around gossiping and talking food."
Brendan Coyle with the cast of Downton Abbey
"Downstairs we can be quite rowdy. There’s a lot of comedians. We laugh a lot doing those scenes when we’re all sitting around talking about picnics or whatever. I believe we are more raucous than upstairs.
"And then you have the other end of the scale whereby the storyline that Joanne, particularly, and myself went through last year – it’s very emotional."
It was recently revealed that George Clooney will guest-star in a special charity episode of the show. The newlywed will play an American wedding guest in a special show written to raise money for charity fundraiser Text Santa, and which will air at Christmas. George is reportedly a big fan of Downton Abbey, and is good friends with one of its stars, Hugh Honneville, who plays Lord Robert Crawley. The pair became close while working together on The Monuments Men.