James Graham is a playwright and screenwriter.
His screen work includes Sherwood, which aired on BBC One in 2022 to rave reviews, and will return for a second series. James also wrote Quiz (ITV and AMC) in 2020, directed by Stephen Frears, which was one of the most watched UK television dramas of the year; and Brexit: An Uncivil War, which garnered huge public attention and critical acclaim in 2019. It was broadcast on Channel 4 and HBO, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Television Movie, and a BAFTA for Single Drama. His feature film X+Ywas selected for the Toronto International Film Festival in 2014.
For theatre, James’s play Best of Enemies, about the political debates between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley Jr., opened at the Young Vic in 2021, and is currently playing in the West End. It has been nominated for an Olivier for Best New Play, and won a Critics’ Circle Theatre Award. His new musical, Tammy Faye, with music from Elton John and lyrics from Jake Shears, opened at the Almeida in 2022. Ink - about the early days of Rupert Murdoch - opened to huge praise at the Almeida before transferring to the West End in September 2017, where it played in the theatre next door to James’ other new play – political romantic comedy Labour of Love - creating theatre history. Labour of Love went on to win an Olivier Award, and Ink transferred to Manhattan Theatre Club on Broadway and was nominated for six Tony Awards. His play Privacy about data surveillance culture premiered at the Donmar Warehouse in 2014 before moving to the Public Theater in New York, starring Daniel Radcliffe. His first musical, Finding Neverland, ran for 18 months on Broadway in 2015 before touring the U.S.
James's breakout play This House premiered at the National Theatre's Cottesloe Theatre in September 2012 and transferred to the Olivier in 2013 where it enjoyed a sell-out run. It garnered critical acclaim and a huge amount of interest and admiration from current and former MPs for his rendition of life in the House of Commons. The play went on to have an Olivier-nominated sell-out revival in the West End in 2017 and it was chosen by popular vote as the best play of the 2010’s for the major theatre publisher Methuen.
James received an OBE in 2020 for 'services to drama and young people'.