He began by appearing in such television programmes as Lorna Doone, as John Ridd and Evelyn Waugh's wartime saga Sword of Honour, and in Mike Leigh's film Topsy-Turvy. He played Mr. Coxe in 1999's BBC version of Wives and Daughters. In 2000, Coyle's big break arrived in the form of the character Jeff Murdock in the comedy Coupling. In 2003 he chose not to return to Coupling for its fourth season, and refused requests to return for a "goodbye episode". In a 2005 interview, Coyle stated this was to avoid typecasting.