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Villains Wiki

James Cunningham is a fictional character and recurring antagonist in Coronation Street. He originally appeared as a guest character in September 6, 2010, and returning in April 2011. It was revealed he was actually an antagonist who planned to rob his long-lost grandfather Ken Barlow and the character left in July 2011.

He was portrayed by James Roache.


In August 2010, Ken discovered that his first girlfriend Susan was pregnant to his child back in 1961. The following month he met his son Lawrence, and discovered Lawrence had two children of his own named James and Chloe. Ken later met James, who clearly had a relationship problem with his father, due to Lawrence disapproving that James is gay. Ken attempts to sort out the feud, but it does not work as Lawrence is not interested in Ken's advice as he has only just arrived in his life. This causes Ken to disown Lawrence, although he still kept contact with James.

James returned in April 2011 in which it was revealed he was now working at a homeless shelter. Ken offered James to move into his house, much to the disappointment of Ken's wife Deirdre and daughter Tracy. James also befriended a couple named Sophie Webster and Sian Powers, who both started helping him at the shelter.

Despite appearing to be a decent young man, James was in fact a conman who was working with the two owners of the shelter to run a scam. They set up a fake robbery at the soup kitchen they were running to get sympathy from Sophie and Sian in hopes of gaining "donations". Sophie stole from her father Kevin Webster and transferred a large amount of money into the charity account, which led to the two owners fleeing with the money. James denied being involved when confronted by Kevin, and Ken stood by him believing his grandson. But James only received a small cut of the profits, and plotted to rob Ken.

James came up with a plan to remortgage Ken's house, and had a surveyor to check out the house. When Ken's granddaughter Amy caught him out she questioned what he was doing, which lead to James threatening her. A cheque for £50,000 arrived in the post, but was discovered by Ken. James was forced to admit to his deceit, but blamed his troubles on his father Lawrence and also on Ken for sleeping with Susan. James showed no remorse for his actions and admitted to Ken that he would con again. When Ken attempted to phone the police, James attacked him and banged Ken's head off the wall. James then packed a bag and left the street. Although Ken didn't want to phone the police on his grandson, Kevin furiously phoned them himself when discovering that James was behind the con.

It is unknown what happened to James since then as he has not been mentioned again.



  • James Roache (the actor who played James Cunningham) is the real-life son of William Roache, the actor who currently plays the show's central protagonist Ken Barlow.