James Bolam is an English actor, best known for his role as Jack Ford in the BBC long running series, When the Boat Comes in and also as Terry Collier in the Likely Lads. He first appeared on T.V in the early 1960’s in the police series Z cars and then in the gritty northern films, A Kind of Loving and the Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.
The Likely Lads ran from 1964 to 1966 and was hugely popular, making James a star, he subsequently appeared in films such as ‘Half a Sixpence’ and ‘O Lucky Man’. Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads returned to the screen in 1973 and 1974 for a further two series.
In 1976 James appeared as Jack Ford, a war veteran, in the BBC television series “When the Boat Comes In”, a period drama set in the fictional poverty stricken town Gallowshields in the North of England, following the political struggles of the 1920s and 1930s.
James has since then appeared in comedy and comedy dramas including Only When I Laugh, The Beiderbecke Affair, Dalziel and Pascoe and also as Jack Halford in New Tricks.
In 2002 he played the part of serial killer, Harold Shipman, the ITV adaptation of the Brian Master’s book Prescription for Murder. In 2006 he portrayed Harold Wilson in the BBC documentary, The Plot Against Harold Wilson.
James currently plays the Grandpa in the Cbeebies show Grandpa in my Pocket and continues to work in the theatre.