While James was at Beechen Cliff School, he was cast as the Artful Dodger in a school production of Oliver!, an English musical. The music and lyrics were created by Lionel Bart. Later, he enrolled at National Youth Theatre in London, where he spent his summer and develop his interest in acting.
James made his screen debut in "Births and Deaths," an episode of a British situation comedy show called Drop the Dead Donkey. This show was aired on Channel 4, a British public-service television broadcaster.
Soon after finishing his drama school, James began starring in a BBC television drama series This Life, which was directed by Amy Jenkins. The co-stars of this series are Jack Davenport, Jason Hughes, Daniela Nardini, and Ramon Tikaram.
James made his movie debut in a British drama feature movie Boston Kickout, which was directed by Paul Hills. After his successful debut as an actor, he featured in a Christmas-themed romantic comedy movie Love Actually, which was directed by Richard Curtis. The movie became a huge hit and made a collection of $246.9 million at the box office against the budget of £30 million.
Similarly, James appeared in numerous other movies like Human Traffic, Gangster No. 1, Enduring Love, These Foolish Things, Heartbreaker, and Made in Dagenham. Likewise, he also featured in numerous television series including Over Here, The Woman in White, The Canterbury Tales, Lie With Me, Red Nose Day Actually, and Robot Chicken.
James is a British by nationality and belongs to white ethnicity. He is married to his longtime girlfriend, Gael Anderson. The couple is blessed with two children, Matilda and Arthur. He lives a happily married life with his wife and has shown no any sign of divorce.
James earns a tremendous amount of money from his professional acting career. According to some online sources, he receives $90,000 per episode as a salary. His yearly income from television series is over $1 million and earns around $1.35 to $1.8 million per season. His current net worth is estimated to be $16 million.