James (Ed Speleers), the second footman, after William's death

James Kent (called Jimmy below stairs) is a character on the series, Downton Abbey. He was played by actor Ed Speleers.

The footman who nearly brought down Thomas

James Kent was the second footman hired after Alfred Nugent. He would replace a man named Lang (Alfred had replaced William Mason, the former footman who died in the war).

He and Alfred wanted to become friends, but he was the target of a one-sided crush on the part of Thomas Barrow. Thomas had been fighting with Sarah O'Brien after their friendship sundered because of her favoring Alfred over him.

Between her and Alfred, they tried to manipulate things to where James had a crush on Thomas and vice versa. Thomas, finally consumed by yearning, went into James' room and kissed him. This awoke James and he got mad at Thomas. Alfred was angry with him and he and James did not speak to Thomas.

In fact, both footmen wanted Thomas fired and not given a good reference. They also wanted him in jail (as gay sex was illegal at that time and in that place).

However, James and Thomas would become good friends (after Thomas took a beating for him after beating town toughs at Tug of War). They would become closer as friends, although they could never be lovers.

James had a crush on Ivy Stuart, the kitchen maid; but she was in love with Alfred, which strained their friendship. Alfred was the target of a crush by Ivy's superior (and William's widow), Daisy Mason, who was now the assistant cook.

However, James' past would come back to haunt him in the first episode of the fifth season, when his former employer, Lady Anstruther would come to Downton to stay. They were caught in flagrante delicto by Robert Crawley, during a fire in the abbey. James was sacked with a good reference; what happened to him was never revealed.

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