Wikia

Downton Abbey Wiki

John Bates

Talk0
443pages on
this wiki

Redirected from Bates

John Bates
Tn-500 brendancoyle
Biographical information
Born 1869
Marital status Married to Anna Bates
Residence Prison (formerly)

Downton, Yorkshire

Title(s) Mr Bates

His Lordship's Valet
Bates, my old fellow! (by Lord Grantham)

Military career 2nd Boer war veteran
Physical information
Gender Male
Hair colour Brown
Family information
Family Mrs Bates (mother) †

Vera Bates (first wife) †
Anna Bates (second wife)

Affiliation
Occupation Valet of Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham
Loyalty Crawley Family

Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham
Anna Bates

Behind the scenes
Portrayed by Brendan Coyle

John Bates (b. 1869[citation needed]) is Robert Crawley's valet. Initially he is poorly treated by most of the staff due to the fact that he uses a cane (he was injured in the Boer War). Thomas Barrow and Sarah O'Brien make several attempts to get rid of him. Despite this, he is eventually able to earn the respect of much of the staff, such as Anna Smith and Mr Carson, who are impressed by his morals and work ethic, despite his disability. 

BiographyEdit

Series 1Edit

John Bates arrives at Downton to replace Mr Watson as valet for Lord Grantham. The majority of staff don't believe that he is qualified for the job, as he has not been a valet before. When it is made obvious that he uses a cane the staff are at best surprised and at worst outraged, feeling that they will have to pick up the slack for John due to his disability slowing him down in the large house. The job requires him to take the stairs frequently and bring luggage up to people's rooms. Mr Carson is upset that others will need to help him do his job. Meanwhile, footman Thomas was hoping to be promoted to valet himself and is personally offended to lose the job to "Long John Silver".

Most of the staff gives him the cold shoulder, while Thomas and O'Brien try to get rid of him to further their own ends. O'Brien knocks his cane away when he is standing in a receiving line to greet guests arriving. Bates falls flat on his face in front of the Duke of Crowborough. Only the housemaid Anna, who helps him up, offers him any sympathy and friendship. Bowing to the feelings of most of the staff, and as Carson says for the good of the estate, Lord Grantham fires him, even knowing that his friend will have little luck finding another placement because of his disability. But, as Bates is leaving, Grantham runs after the carriage and insists he stay, saying "It's not right."

It is some time before the rest of the servants learn that Bates is an old friend, and served Lord Grantham in the Boer War as batman. This is where he received his leg injury. Mr. Bates finally says to the astonished and speechless staff with perfect timing, "You never asked."

Throughout the series, he is at odds with Thomas, who tries to get rid of him to take his place as valet. John tries to ignore him at first. Still being ignored by the rest of the staff save Anna, he gains an ally in William when he observes Thomas bullying the younger man who is suffering with severe homesickness. An overconfident Thomas makes a snide remark that Mr. Bates can do nothing to stop him. Bates violently grabs him and shoves him against the wall, showing that despite his disability, he is not to be underestimated - and he has a temper.

He and Anna grow closer, and she admits that she loves him. He says "he is not a free man". She meets Bates' mother, and from her discovers while in London with Mrs Patmore that he is married to Vera Bates, that he does not love her, that he used to be a drunk and went to prison for a theft that Vera committed. John later hints to Joseph Molesley that he returns her love, right before Lord Grantham announces England is now at war with Germany.

Series 2Edit

John Bates returns to Downton Abbey after his mother's funeral. He believes he can finally divorce Vera and therefore proposes to Anna. But Vera shows up at Downton and blackmails him with the threat to publish Lady Mary's scandal involving Kemal Pamuk, which could damage Anna's reputation since she helped cover it up. He is forced to resign his job (Robert Crawley is not happy to learn this) against his will and return to live with her. Anna is heartbroken.

Anna finds him working in a pub in Kirkbymoorside. Both she and Lord Grantham visit him there. John reveals he may have information about his wife having an affair, which means he can sue for divorce. He is convinced to return to Downton, where he is welcomed back by Carson and Mrs Hughes.

However, Vera has compromising information that will delay the divorce. John offers Vera money to keep quiet about the story that she was blackmailing him with and to leave them alone. However, she lies to him. Vera goes to Richard Carlisle to expose the story, and he pays her for it but does not use it because it would give his then-fiancée, Lady Mary Crawley, a bad name. Mary in fact has gone to Carlisle and persuaded him to buy the story. Mary later thanks John for what he did for her. Vera on the other hand is angry and swears John will not escape her wrath.

He goes to confront his wife about this and returns with a scar on his cheek. The next day a telegram arrives informing Bates that Vera has died by eating a pie containing poison. It is suspected that the death was suicide, although lack of a suicide note suggests there was no premeditation. Bates had bought some arsenic to kill rats in their house when they were married, and believes that it was her spur of the moment decision to eat the poison. Bates and Anna realize that this looks bad for him and that he may be accused of murdering his wife. She suggests that he go to the police to tell them about the arsenic, as they may find out anyway and it would be worse.

Growing tired of waiting, Anna tells Bates that she wants to marry him immediately. Only Mary Crawley and Jane Moorsum know of the marriage, but the couple planned to tell everyone after the funeral of Lavinia Swire. After attending the funeral, they return to Downton and discover two officers who are waiting to arrest Bates for the murder of his wife. Bates and Anna declare their love for each other before he is escorted away by the officers.

John Bates receives the support of Anna, the Downton staff members, and the Crawley family. He is even represented by Lord Grantham's lawyer George Murray. Mrs Hughes, Miss O'Brien, and Lord Grantham all must testify against him. The evidence shows Bates in a bad light and he is found guilty. Although initially sentenced to hang, the lack of apparent premeditation results in commutation to life imprisonment. Anna and the lawyers are still planning to appeal the verdict.

Series 3Edit

ThCAZK5UW5

Dent warns Bates.

John Bates is comforted by his wife's determination not to give up on setting him free, and he himself maintains his innocence. She visits him regularly. She brings him Vera's journal and letters so he can make her an annotated list of people to interview in search of proof that Vera committed suicide. Meanwhile, back at Downton Thomas Barrow has taken over as Lord Grantham's valet.

The time he spends in prison is made all the more difficult because he is confined in close quarters with characters that are described as "undesirable." He warns his cellmate Craig to let him be and then he sees Craig being passed something by the guard Durrant. Worried about what he has seen and what he can tell others, Craig has planted drugs in Bates's bed, intending to frame him. Fortunately, another prisoner, Dent, who hates Craig, warns him in time. Bates finds the drugs and hides them. But this puts him on bad terms with the guards, who cut off all correspondence between him and Anna and prevents her from visiting him.

Dent later told him that Craig and one of the guards, Durrant, were working together selling drugs. Durrant brings them into the prison and Craig sells them to the other inmates. After Bates successfully got Craig on bad terms with the guards by putting the drugs in his bed, his and Anna's letters were finally delivered to each of them. Another guard, Turner, warned Bates that Durrant did not like him and so he became more watchful for an opportunity to deal with Craig. Anna finds information which will clear Bates, Audrey Bartlett saw Vera making the crust for the poisoned pie after Bates had left London by train to return to Downton. As the arsenic was found in the pie, but not the ingredients, Vera had to have put it in herself. Durrant finds out and pressures Audrey Bartlett to change her story when Bates' lawyer George Murray comes to see her. Bates threatens Craig that he will give information to the authorities that will get Craig's sentence extended and Durrant fired, unless they get her to tell the truth.

In 1920, after Audrey Bartlett gives a testimony that clears his name, Bates is released from prison, and he returns with Anna to a cottage near Downton. They start painting it and it is done by the time O'Brien pays a visit. Mrs Hughes informs him of the situation regarding Thomas and Jimmy, and though he wants Thomas to go he does not want to see anyone's life ruined. Later he alarms Miss O'Brien when he mentions "her ladyship's soap," which Thomas has mentioned to him indicating he knows she caused Cora's miscarriage back in 1914. He tells this to Anna as well as his disappointment that Thomas is staying on in a higher position than himself, and he has no idea what the phrase Thomas gave him means.

In 1921, he and Anna travel with the Crawleys to Duneagle Castle in Scotland, and they go on a picnic together. One day while talking outside the house, they meet a crying Lady Rose. They give her sympathy and a mint to hide the fact that she has been smoking. Rose laments her life. With a sad smile Bates tells her that his whole childhood was so bad that she would consider it impossible, but he had survived and so would she. Later, he receives a surprise from his wife at the Ghillies Ball, when she shows how well she can dance, thanks to lessons given to her by Rose MacClare. Bates says of her to Mary, "Yes. She is marvellous."

Series 4Edit

John Bates becomes suspicious of Edna Braithwaite (because Anna was blamed for something that was really Edna's fault) and visiting valet Green (because Green is flirting with his wife).

After Green rapes Anna during the performance of Nellie Melba, Anna feels soiled and unworthy of her husband. She begins pushing him away, lying that it has been from working too long together which is why she's keeping her distance from him. She even moves back into Downton away from the cottage.

Bates-and-Hughes-1382306129-1-
John fears he has done something terribly wrong but cannot understand what and that Anna no longer loves him. He cannot learn the truth from her, but after overhearing her speaking to Mrs Hughes he confronts the latter. At first she does not say anything, but then Bates threatens to leave because he cannot work where he is not loved and happy anymore. At that, fearing his departure would break Anna, admits the truth, but insists it was someone who barged in from the outside. However, Bates asks her to swear it was not Green, and she does.
Bates-1382306356-1-
Anna too swears Green too was not to blame when John confronts Anna in the boot room. He tells her that she is not soiled, but that he in fact loves her more than ever. They reconcile with embraces and tears, but he is certain Green is responsible, and remarks that he is a "dead man" if it was him. Later, he tells Mrs Hughes nothing is settled.

John swears to punish the man who attacked his wife. He sees himself as having failed to protect Anna. Later, when Lord Grantham goes to America, he takes Thomas Barrow with him instead of John after Mrs Hughes expresses concern that John should stay with Anna. When Green returns with Lord Gillingham, John is listening when Green reveals he went downstairs while Nellie Melba was singing. Later Green dies in London in a traffic accident. Both Anna and Mary suspect John of being involved as he was absent the whole day of the accident, having told Carson he was going to York, but there is no proof he was involved, and they take the matter no further.

LondonTicketS4E9

London train ticket.

John, Anna, and many other servants join the Crawley family at Grantham House for the London season in 1923, which includes Rose's debunate. Mrs Hughes discovers a ticket in one of John's old coats which indicates he travelled onwards from York to London on the day Green died. She puts the matter into Lady Mary's hands, although Mary is unsure of whether she can keep this secret in light of the potential murder. Mrs Hughes insists nonetheless that they can never know what happened that day. John might have been nowhere near Piccadilly and went to London for a different reason, but she asserts she will not wrong him if he went to avenge his wife's honor.
ThCATJMFRS
When Lord Grantham learns from Rose that a love letter from the Prince of Wales to Freda Dudley Ward was taken by Terence Sampson, he recruits John to forge a note in Sampson's hand giving them permission to enter his flat, so they can look for the letter. The Crawleys are unable to find it, but then John suspects Sampson did not leave it at home (which they searched while distracting Sampson with a card game) but carried it with him to keep it safe. He finds it in Sampson's overcoat, and sneaks it out after helping Sampson put his coat back on. He then hands it over to Lord Grantham. Mary rewards John for his loyalty by burning the ticket. Mr Bates and Anna later have a day at the seaside with the rest of the downstairs staff.

AppearancesEdit

Appearances and Mentions
Series 1 Episode 1
Appears
Episode 2
Appears
Episode 3
Appears
Episode 4
Appears
Episode 5
Appears
Episode 6
Appears
Episode 7
Appears
   
Series 2 Episode 1
Appears
Episode 2
Mentioned
Episode 3
Appears
Episode 4
Appears
Episode 5
Appears
Episode 6
Appears
Episode 7
Appears
Episode 8
Appears
Christmas Special
Appears
   
Series 3 Episode 1
Appears
Episode 2
Appears
Episode 3
Appears
Episode 4
Appears
Episode 5
Appears
Episode 6
Appears
Episode 7
Appears
Episode 8
Appears
Christmas Special
Appears
   
Series 4 Episode 1
Appears
Episode 2
Appears
Episode 3
Appears
Episode 4
Appears
Episode 5
Appears
Episode 6
Appears
Episode 7
Appears
Episode 8
Appears
Christmas Special
Appears
   
Series 5 Episode 1
Appears
Episode 2
Appears
Episode 3 Episode 4 Episode 5 Episode 6 Episode 7 Episode 8 Christmas Special

ReferencesEdit

  1. http://www.idigitaltimes.com/articles/21241/20131220/downton-abbey-season-5-spoilers-bates-murder.htm

Start a Discussion Discussions about John Bates

  • Message from a Wikia contributor

    4 messages
    • As for if Bates killed Green or not, circumstance might look bad again for him, but I still do not think he did it. He may say aloud that...
    • While I agree he most likely did NOT kill Vera, I'm pretty sure he killed Green. After all, as he says, prison was an "education" and this...
  • John Bates should be rich!!!

    3 messages
    • Vera could've very well spent most of it before she killed herself
    • I do not think she spent it ALL in that short of time. Bates would have inherited anything and everything that was Vera's so whatever was le...

Around Wikia's network

Random Wiki