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Robert James-Collier

Robert James-Collier
Robert James-Collier May 2014 (cropped).jpg
James-Collier in May 2014
Robert Collier

1976 (age 43–44)
OccupationActor, model
Years active2005–present

Robert James-Collier (born 1976[1]) is an English actor and model. He is known for his roles as Thomas Barrow in Downton Abbey and as Liam Connor in Coronation Street.

Early life

James-Collier was born in Salford, Greater Manchester,[1][2] as Robert Collier, but changed his name to Robert James-Collier to comply with the rules of Equity and avoid confusion with another actor of that earlier name.[3] He was educated at St Patrick's Roman Catholic High School in Eccles, Greater Manchester.[4][5]

James-Collier has two degrees; he studied business at the University of Huddersfield and marketing at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology.[6]



Having no experience as an actor, James-Collier auditioned for the series Down to Earth. Stars Ricky Tomlinson and Denise Welch were convinced by his talent, and he got the part of the womanising pub landlord. In 2006, he appeared in New Street Law and played a small part as 'Stud' in Shameless series 3, episode 5 under the name of Rob Collier.

In 2006, he joined Coronation Street as Liam Connor, buying a share of the Underworld factory with his brother Paul. He left the show in October 2008. In an interview in early-2008, James-Collier announced he was leaving the soap but was planning to come back in the future.[7] However, in June 2008, it was reported that the character of Liam was set to be 'brutally' killed off in the soap as part of a murder-mystery plotline where three well known residents would fall under suspicion for the crime.[8] One of these would be Tony Gordon played by Gray O'Brien, who was in a relationship with Carla Connor played by Alison King in the show.[9]

After leaving Coronation Street, James-Collier had a leading role as under butler (formerly first footman) Thomas Barrow in Downton Abbey, from 2010-15, and has appeared in the West End stage version of Calendar Girls.

James-Collier played Kevin O'Dowd in ITV's 2016 crime drama, The Level. In 2017, James-Collier starred in British horror film, The Ritual,[10] in which The Guardian described his performance as "a fierce screen presence".[11] He will also play a small role in Jessica Hynes directorial debut, The Fight.[12] He had a principal role in the "Cold River" episode of Vera aired in 2018.

In 2019, it was announced that James-Collier had been cast in the third series of Channel 4 school-drama Ackley Bridge as Martin Evershed.[13]


James-Collier modelled for Argos, where he appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2007 and Spring/Summer 2008 catalogues.

He won the Sexiest Male award at the 2007 and 2008 British Soap Awards in addition to "Best Exit" at the 2009 British Soap Awards. He won Sexiest Male and Best Newcomer at the 2007 Inside Soap Awards.


Year Film Role
2011 Mercenaries Callum
2012 Spike Island Mr Milligan
2013 Wayland's Song John
2015 A Christmas Star Pat McKerrod
2017 The Ritual Hutch
2019 Downton Abbey Thomas Barrow
Year Film Role Notes
2005 Perfect Day Alex Television film
2005 Down to Earth Nicky Christy Recurring role; 10 episodss
2006 Shameless Stud/Jim 1 episode: "Episode No. 3.5"
2006 Casualty Martin Stonewall 1 episode: "Secrets and Lies"
2006 Dalziel and Pascoe Simon Thewlis 1 episode: "The Cave Woman: Part 2"
2006–2008 Coronation Street Liam Connor Series regular; 330 episodes;
Won – Best Exit – British Soap Awards
Won – Sexiest Male (2008) – Inside Soap Awards
Won – Sexiest Male (2007) – Inside Soap Awards
2010–2015 Downton Abbey Thomas Barrow Main role;
Won – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2012–2014)
2011 Moving On Clive 1 episode: "The Milkman"
2012 Love Life Joe Main role
2013 Moving On Aiden Evans 1 episode: "Visiting Order"
2016 The Level Kevin O'Dowd Main role
2016 The Attendant Alex Short film
2018 Urban Myths Colonel Archie Christie Episode: "Agatha Christie"
2019 Vera Richard Episode: "Cold River"
2019 Death in Paradise Oliver Carr 1 episode
2019–present Ackley Bridge Martin Evershed Main role
2019 Nancy Short film[14]
2020 Fate: The Winx Saga Silva 6 episodes


  1. ^ a b "Rob James-Collier on life in Downton Abbey as Thomas Barrow". Lancashire Life. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  2. ^ men Administrator (19 February 2007). "Unknown Rob flies the Co-op". men. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  3. ^ "Corrie's latest bad boy". Manchester Evening News. 17 April 2010.
  4. ^ Lockyer, Daphne (13 March 2012). "Rob James Collier steps out from Downton Abbey". Daily Express. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  5. ^ "School goes to top of class". Manchester Evening News. 18 April 2010.
  6. ^ "Up stairs down". The Northern Echo. 23 September 2010. Archived from the original on 26 September 2010. Retrieved 24 September 2010.
  7. ^ Soaps – News – 'Liam' quits Corrie over "typecast" fears – Digital Spy
  8. ^ Soaps – News – Corrie favourite killed in "whodunnit" murder – Digital Spy
  9. ^ Soaps – News – Corrie star O'Brien suffers hip problems – Digital Spy
  10. ^ McCormick, Joseph Patrick (7 October 2017). "Hollyoaks star hits back after Downton Abbey actor said playing gay hurt his career". Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  11. ^ The Ritual review – lads' weekend turns surreal in lost-in-the-woods Brit horror – The Guardian
  12. ^ Rob James-Collier on horror films, Downton Abbey and waltzing with Dame Maggie Smith – Radio Times
  13. ^ "Ackley Bridge series three casts Corrie and Downton star Rob James-Collier". Metro. 16 January 2019. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  14. ^ "Nancy – Short Film 2019". Retrieved 14 March 2019.

External links

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