Living… in pain. John Bates has had trouble with his leg ever since he was injured during the Boer War while serving as Lord Grantham’s batman. (A “batman” was a soldier assigned as a servant to a commissioned officer.) It’s been difficult finding employment as a partially disabled person; John uses a cane to help with his noticeable limp. But luckily, his former officer offered him a position and accommodations at Downton Abbey.
Profession… valet of the Earl of Grantham. His appointment caused a lot of resentment amongst the rest of the staff, who believe that Bates’ inexperience and handicap are a liability. After all, a man with a limp isn’t exactly an ideal candidate for a job that requires a lot of climbing stairs and heavy manual labor. But, John is determined to prove his worth, vowing, “I’ll show you, my lord, I promise. I won’t let you down.”
Interests… curing his limp. John isn’t averse to spending his wages on torturous looking devices if there is a chance he’ll finally be able to walk normally. His latest purchase is a straightening boot. Wearing it is incredibly painful, but Bates can handle it. He’ll do anything to improve his performance as a valet: “I am very eager to stay on. Very eager indeed.”
Relationship Status… married. Little is known about Bates’ love life other than the fact that he is a legally taken man. Anna, the head housemaid of Downton who has grown to be quite fond of John, is determined to find out more about his relationship.
Challenge… keeping his position at Downton. Performing valet duties as a disabled man is hard enough, but Bates’ life is further complicated by the fact that other staff try to sabotage him. Thomas, the disgruntled footman who was passed over for the valet job, treats Bates as a mortal enemy and conspires against him whenever he gets the chance.
Personality… tenacious, private, courteous, and dependable. Bates is hardworking and soft-spoken. His strong principles and quiet, respectful demeanor quickly impress Lord Grantham and Anna Smith. If only the rest of the staff felt the same way. Maybe in time...
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