'Downton Abbey' auction lets you read poetry to Mr. Bates - um, what?

The Origin Theatre Company, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the cultivation, development, and interpretation of new and emerging European playwrights, has organized a series of online auctions to raise money. Which is great. And most of them are perfectly normal, like a VIP "Tonight Show" experience or tickets to Alan Cumming's "Macbeth" with a chance to meet Cumming after the show. There are even two "Downton Abbey"-related auctions that sound like a lot of fun -- tea with Mrs. Patmore (Lesley Nicol) and lunch with Mr. Bates (Brendan Coyle).However, there is one "Downton" auction that has caught our eye ... and not in a good way. The actor Brendan Coyle, who plays the ill-fated butler Bates on Masterpiece Theatre's mega hit Downton Abbey has agreed to let himself be waited on hand and foot by a super lucky auction bidder. The winner of the table-turning prize will read poetry to Coyle in a horse-drawn carriage ride...



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