James Bolam


James Christopher Bolam is a well-known British actor, most known for playing Terry Collier in The Likely Lads and its sequel Whatever happened to the likely lads? Also for some remarkable performances as characters such as Jack Ford in When the Boat Comes In, Roy Figgis in Only When I Laugh, Trevor Chaplin in The Beiderbecke Trilogy, Arthur Gilder in Born and Bred, Jack Halford in New Tricks and the title character of Grandpa in the CBeebies programme Grandpa in My Pocket.

For his contributions to drama, he received the MBE (Member of the British Empire) in the 2009 Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Professional Life

James Bolam started his career in early 60’s on the stage at Royal Court Theatre as an understudy to Ronnie Barker in play named Platonov.

His first appearance on the screens was in the television show Z-Cars in 1960 and then in the movies such as A Kind of Loving and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner in 1962.

But it was The Likely Lads, British sitcom, which made James Bolam a famous star or say celebrity, in which he played Terry Collier during the run of a show between 1964 and 1966.

Bolam starred in movies including Half a Sixpence in 1967, Otley in 1969, and O Lucky Man! prior to the release of the sequel, Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? in 1973. The resurrected series, which followed Bob and Terry’s subsequent exploits, ran for two seasons, which were shown in 1973 and 1974, as well as a 45-minute Christmas Eve special in 1974.

Bolam costarred with the original ensemble in a subsequent BBC Radio adaptation of the 1973 TV series in 1975, and in a 1976 feature film adaptation of the series with the working title The Likely Lads, there was yet another reunion.

In 2005, Bolam’s co-star Rodney Bewes said that it had been almost thirty years since the two performers had communicated. Although, when Bewes passed away in November 2017, Bolam denied that there was a breach between the two men.

As Jack Ford in the BBC Television series When the Boat Comes In, which aired from 1976 to 1981, Bolam returned to pure drama. Since then, he has primarily acted in comedies and comedy dramas, such as Only When I Laugh (from 29 October 1979 to 16 December 1982), The Beiderbecke Affair (from 1985 to 1985), The Beiderbecke Tapes (in 1987), The Beiderbecke Connection (in 1988), Second Thoughts (from 3 May 1991 to 14 October 1994), Midsomer Murders, Pay and Display, Dalziel and Pascoe, Close and True, and Born and Bred as Jack Halford.

Read More: Tinie Tempah Biography, Analysis, Networth and Stats

Bolam’s performance as the morally dubious but ultimately corrupt Ronnie Stribling in the BBC comedy-drama Bedtime‘s 2002 season, costarring Timothy West and Sheila Hancock, was another standout performance.

He portrayed Willie Garvin in the Modesty Blaise novel Last Day in Limbo’s radio version for the BBC World Service in 1978. In the animated adaptation of The Plague Dogs, he performed The Tod’s voice (1982).

He co-starred in the romantic comedy Second Thoughts on radio in the middle of the 1980s. The show continued for several seasons and was then adapted for television, with Bolam playing the same character.

He portrayed Sir Archibald Flint in The Spectre of Lanyon Moor, a Doctor Who audio drama, in the year 2000. Additionally, he provided the narration for the three-part BBC One football documentary Three Lions, which aired before to Euro 2000. The three episodes covered the history of the England National Team from the World Cup in 1966 to just before the Euro 2000 championships.

In 2002, Bolam portrayed Father Leonard Tibbings in Dalziel and Pascoe (Ser. 7, Ep. 1 “Sins of the Fathers”) and serial murderer Harold Shipman in Shipman, the ITV production of Brian Masters’ book about the case, Prescription for Murder.

In the BBC documentary The Plot Against Harold Wilson from 2006, he played former Prime Minister Harold Wilson. During the summer 2005 season, he had an appearance in the Frank Loesser musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying at the Chichester Festival Theatre.

Read More: Lynda Bellingham Biography, Analysis, Networth and Stats

He played the role of Grandpa in the Cbeebies show Grandpa in My Pocket. In 2009 he played Ken Lewis, CEO of the Bank of America, in the television dramatisation The Last Days of Lehman Brothers.

Bolam continues to work in the theatre as well as on television. During spring 2015, he appeared in the play Bomber’s Moon by William Ivory at the Park Theatre, Finsbury Park, London.

Basic Info

Real NameJames Christopher Bolam
Birth Date16 June 1938
Age87 years
Birth PlaceSunderland, County Durham, England.
ReligionNot Known
Sun signGemini

Physical Statistics

Height5′ 9″
Shoe SizeNot known
Hair ColorBlack
Eye ColorBrown
Skin ColorFair

Qualifications & Education

SchoolBede Grammar School, Sunderland.
CollegeBemrose School, Derby.
DramaCentral School of Speech and Drama, London.


FatherRobert Alfred Bolam
MotherMarion Alice Dury

Marriage, Relationships & Family

Marital StatusMarried
SpouseSusan Jameson
ChildrenLucy Bolam

James Bolam Movies:

  • 1961 – The Kitchen
  • 1962 – A Kind of Loving
  • 1962 – H.M.S. Defiant
  • 1962 – The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
  • 1964 – Murder Most Foul
  • 1967 – Half a Sixpence
  • 1968 – Otley
  • 1971 – Crucible of Terror
  • 1972 – Straight on till Morning
  • 1973 – O Lucky Man!
  • 1975 – In Celebration
  • 1976 – The Likely Lads
  • 1982 – The Plague Dogs
  • 1983 – Clash of Loyalties
  • 1984 – Seaview Knights
  • 1995 – Clockwork Mice
  • 1996 – Stella Does Tricks
  • 1997 – The Missing Postman
  • 1997 – The Island of Bird Street
  • 1998 – The Stalker’s Apprentice
  • 1999 – The End of the Affair
  • 1999 – Midsomer Murders: Death of a Stranger
  • 2000 – It Was an Accident
  • 2000 – Dirty Tricks
  • 2002 – Harold Shipman: Doctor Death
  • 2003 – To Kill a King
  • 2009 – The Last Days of Lehman Brothers
  • 2012 – Unconditional

James Bolam TV Shows:

  • Z-Cars
  • When the Boat Comes In
  • Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?
  • The Protectors
  • The Plot Against Harold Wilson
  • The Missing Postman
  • The Likely Lads
  • The Last Days of Lehman Brothers
  • The Beiderbecke Tapes
  • The Beiderbecke Connection
  • The Beiderbecke Affair
  • Shipman Harold Shipman
  • Second Thoughts
  • Room at the Bottom
  • New Tricks
  • Public Eye
  • Pay and Display
  • Grandpa in My Pocket
  • Only When I Laugh
  • Born and Bred
  • Close and True
  • Andy Capp
  • Inheritance
  • Father Matthew’s Daughter
  • The Channel Four Show

Personal Life

James Bolam was born to Robert Alfred Bolam and Marion Alice Drury, on 16 June 1938 in Sunderland, Durham county, England. He was brought up in Sunderland only where he took primary education in Bede Grammar School.

Later, he attended Bemrose School in Derby for further education. James Bolam is a Chartered Accountant by education but it wasn’t his last resort for the profession. He was trained at Central School of Speech and Drama in London where he won the gold medal and the Margaret Rawlings Cup.

Lacking the money to pay his tuition, he worked night shifts washing dishes in West End eateries and the Lyons Corner House tearoom while studying during the day.

Bolam appeared on Desert Island Discs with Roy Plomley in March 1977. He selected “Violin Concerto in D” by Ludwig van Beethoven as his favorite song, “The Lord of the Rings” by J. R. R. Tolkien as his favorite book, and “Selected cases of French wine” as his luxury item. He spoke about his love of horses, his experience as a racehorse owner, and his desire to perform in a Western on the show.

Together with his wife, the actress Susan Jameson, Bolam splits his time between Chiswick, London, and Wisborough Green, West Sussex (who co-starred with him in an early episode of The Likely Lads, the TV series When the Boat Comes In, New Tricks, Close and True and Grandpa in My Pocket). They have a daughter names Lucy, born in1976. Bolam participates in golf and belongs to the Stage Golfing Society.

He now owns two racehorses, “King Credo,” who by 1993 had taken home three prestigious victories, including the Tote Gold Trophy at Newbury, which allowed him to recoup his investment and training expenses, and “Unique New Yorker.”

Read More: David McCallum Biography, Analysis, Networth and Stats

Advantages of using a GPS Car Tracker to protect your vehicle

Previous article

5 Best Home Remedies for Your Hemorrhoids

Next article

You may also like


Comments are closed.

More in Celebrity