This role earned him a nomination for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.
Coyle was born in Corby, Northamptonshire, to an Irish father and Scottish mother. He reportedly holds dual British/Irish citizenship. He is a greatnephew of football manager Sir Matt Busby. His paternal grandfather is a native of Co. Donegal.
He studied drama in Dublin in 1981 and received a scholarship to Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in the United Kingdom in 1983.
Brendan 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.
Since 2008, he has played Robert Timmins in three BBC series based on the Lark Rise to Candleford novels, written by Flora Thompson. In 2010, he began playing John Bates, valet and former British Army batman to the Earl of Grantham in Julian Fellowes's period drama series, Downton Abbey. Fellowes wrote the part for Coyle, and it won him nominations for a BAFTA and IFTA.
In 2012 Coyle played the character of Terry Starling in Sky comedy series Starlings.
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