James left Warwick University in 1974 with a degree in English and American Literature and began a career as an actor working in regional theatre companies including, Hull Truck Theatre Company and the Victoria Theatre in Stoke on Trent. He starred as “Sooty” Sutcliffe, the English and Drama teacher in Grange Hill, which was to become TV’s longest running children’s soap. His other work included an appearance as one of the slower runners in Chariots of Fire and a part in Give My Regards to Broad Street where he shared a dressing room with George Martin, the Beatles Producer.
After joining the BBC in 1983 he gained a place on their Film Directors’ Course and went on to work on a range of programmes including Jim’ll Fix It, Comic Relief, Noel Edmonds and Songs of Praise. In the Independent sector he directed documentary programmes for Granada, STV and TVS. In 1991 he set up CVP Communications to make films and videos for the charity sector and has since directed and produced work for a range of major charities and international relief organisations, shooting in Mexico, India and Ethiopia.
In 1997 he and his wife Anna left London with their two daughters aged 4 and 2. Armed with the money from the sale of their two bed-roomed terrace house and a desire for more space, they bought Saltford Manor and stepped into a much bigger story.