James Edward Carter, (born 19 August 1948) is an English actor.
Carter's film credits include Top Secret! (1984), A Month in the Country (1987), A Dangerous Man: Lawrence After Arabia (1992), The Madness of King George (1994), Richard III (1995), Brassed Off (1996), Shakespeare in Love (1998), The Little Vampire (2000), Ella Enchanted (2004), and Detective Victor Getz in The Thief Lord (2006). He plays John Faa in The Golden Compass (2007), the first film in the adaptation of the His Dark Materials trilogy, and also stars in House of 9 (2005) as The Watcher, and the executioner in Tim Burton's adaptation of Alice in Wonderland.
His television credits include Lipstick on Your Collar (1993), Cracker (1994), The Way We Live Now (2001), The Singing Detective (1986), Arabian Nights (2000), The Chest (1997), Red Riding (2009), A Very British Coup (1988), the Hornblower episode "Duty" (2003) and the Midsomer Murders episode "The Fisher King" (2004). He also plays Captain Brown in the five-part BBC series Cranford (2007) and Mayor Waldo in the US miniseries Dinotopia (2002). He is best known for his role in Downton Abbey (2010–2015) playing Mr. Carson, a role that has earned him four nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (2012–2015).
He is also known as James Edward Carter and James Carter.