‘Downton Abbey’ star Kevin Doyle takes credit for ‘sad’ character: ‘He has a pair!’

Kevin Doyle is very protective of his Downton Abbey character, valet/servant Joseph Molesley.

When The Post suggested that Molesley might be a bit lukewarm and maybe “grow a couple,” Doyle objected.

“I don’t really agree with that,” he said in a recent interview. “I know some people feel that way about him, but I think he has a really beautiful spirit about him. The thing about him is that he’s been frustrated a lot in his life.

“I think he experienced a lot of sadness in his life,” Doyle continued. “And what’s been especially nice in recent years is to see him move away from that sadness and obviously from characters like Mrs. Baxter [his love interest, played by Raquel Cassidy] helped him.

“Well, I don’t agree. I think he has a pair – he couldn’t let them down!”

DOWNTON ABBEY, US Character Poster, from left: Kevin Doyle, Raquel Cassidy.
Molesley’s love interest is Phyllis Baxter (Raquel Cassidy).
Focus Features / courtesy of the Everett Collection

Doyle also noted that Molesley “had been frustrated a lot in his life. I think he’s clearly an intelligent man, but he’s never been able to use what he has because his life was preordained. A certain kind of career was expected of him and that would be it. And that must have been a terrible frustration. I think (creator) Julian Fellowes explores that a lot on the show, especially on the TV series.”

And while Molesley manages to break free from the shackles of his class in Downton Abbey: A New Era, that doesn’t mean Doyle thinks it’s possible for many in Britain even now.

A scene in "Downton Abbey: A New Era."
Doyle finds professional and personal happiness in Downton Abbey: A New Era.
Focus Features / Courtesy Everett Collection
Kevin Doyle in "happy valley."
Doyle appeared in Season 2 of the dark drama Happy Valley.
Netflix / Courtesy: Everett Collection

“I mean, people in the UK like to think that society has changed a lot,” said the Lincolnshire-born actor. “But I’m a bit more skeptical. I think it’s still very class bound in a way and probably will remain so. For many years.”

The 62-year-old Happy Valley actor noted that it’s very unusual for British actors to play the same character for so long as the crew of Downton Abbey, a series that has stretched for six seasons since 2010 and is now two movies included.

He admitted that by the end of the show the actors found it “got pretty relentless”, but the three-year hiatus between films has whetted their appetite for the social intricacies of flapper-age England.

The new film is partly set in southern France.

So did Doyle buy his own magnificent mansion with his Downton Abbey checks?

“Yes, and it’s huge!” he quipped.

Downton Abbey: A New Era hits theaters May 18 and will stream 45 days later on Peacock.

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