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James Willmott-Brown
James Willmott Brown

PORTRAYED BY

William Boyde

FULLNAME

James Willmott-Brown

ALIAS

Willmott-Brown

ORIGIN

EastEnders

OCCUPATION

Owner of The Dagmar wine bar
(Formerly)
Founder and CEO of Weyland & Co

POWERS AND SKILLS

Business practices
Charisma
Manipulation
Sophistication
Vast high intelligence
Wealth

HOBBY

Interacting with Kathy Beale
Conquering multiple areas within Albert Square
Expanding Weyland & Co

GOALS

Avoid going to prison for raping Kathy Beale
(Failed)
Recoup his relationship with Kathy into leaving Walford with him
(Failed)
Subjugate Albert Square so he can convert the community into a luxurious estate of flats and apartments
(Failed)
Maintain control over his children and prevent them from discovering his true colors
(Failed)

CRIMES

Multiple counts of rape
Harassment
Corruption
Bribery
Vandalism

TYPE OF CHARACTER

Charismatic Businessman

My pub, my rules, and I want you out!
~ Willmott-Brown revealing to the Square that he now owns the Queen Vic.

James Willmott-Brown is a fictional character and recurring antagonist of the British soap opera EastEnders.

He specifically appeared as a central character in 1986, one of the main antagonists throughout 1987-1989, the tertiary antagonist in 1992, an unseen-yet-mentioned character in 1994, and the primary antagonist in 2017.

Character Development

Introduced in 1986, Willmott-Brown was a businessman who owned The Dagmar wine bar and established himself as a rival to Den Watts — the landlord of the Queen Victoria. He is best known for raping Kathy Beale in 1988, and he left the show the following year. He made a reappearance in 1992 before departing again, and would not appear for the next 25 years until he was reintroduced in 2017. Boyde departed once again in December of that year.

Biography

1986-89

James Willmott-Brown, a former officer in the army, first arrived in Walford as a representative to the Luxford and Copley brewery — which owned the Queen Victoria. He decided to move into the area and bought Debbie Wilkin's house on Albert Square, which she had put up for sale after the death of her boyfriend, Andy O'Brien. James and Debbie began dating briefly, but the relationship didn't last, and Pat Butcher also attempted to seduce him unsuccessfully. He also became friends with Colin Russell.

James eventually decided to quit his job as brewery manager and bought a disused brewery on Turpin Road, which he refurbished into a wine bar named The Dagmar. He hired Angie Watts as manageress, much the anger of Den Watts, her estranged husband and landlord of the Queen Vic. James also allowed Angie and her daughter Sharon to live in the flat above The Dagmar. After the wine bar opened for business, James and Den began to compete for best decorated pub for the 'London in Bloom' competition, as well as in a five-star football match, and attempted to poach each others staff.

As time went on, however, the Dagmar began to lose business; this was due to the people of Walford never taking to the upper-class establishment, as well as rival businesses such as the Vic and the Strokes wine bar — which Den managed after giving up his tenancy of the former. James was soon approached by members of the "Walford Investments" — a subsidiary cover for the local organised crime: known as The Firm — who demanded that he allow them to buy into his business. James refused, and as a result caused his business to suffer further when his creditors refused to trade with him. Upon learning that Den was a member of the Firm, James reported him to the police. This was quickly discovered when Den was informed about this by the Dagmar barmen: Simon Wicks. When the residents of Walford found out what James had done, he subsequently lost all of his customers — leaving him in financial ruin and causing him to begin behaving erratically.

During this time, James hired Kathy Beale as a barmaid at the Dagmar, much to the anger of her husband, Pete. The rift between the couple worsened when it became clear that James was romantically interested in Kathy. With the people of Walford ignoring him, Kathy became his only friend; James began buying her expensive gifts and confiding in her about the state of his business, as well as how his marriage fell apart and how it effected his children, Sophie and Luke. One night, after Kathy and Pete had another fight regarding how much time she was spending with James, he invited Kathy to his home for a glass of wine after work, intending to seduce her. However, when Kathy realized what James was doing and attempted to leave, he raped her.

Upon finding Kathy in an emotional wreck and realizing what had happened, Den called his contacts within The Firm in order to get revenge. The Dagmar was subsequently fire-bombed and Den was arrested for arson, with The Firm demanding he take the blame for the arson and eventually deciding to kill him. James was horrified when he returned days later and saw what had become of the Dagmar, and the residents of Albert Square began to treat him with open hostility.

When Kathy revealed her rape to the police and Willmott-Brown was arrested, he claimed that he and Kathy had been in an affair and she had had consensual sex with him; when asked about Kathy's bruises, he claimed they were from a rampant sexual encounter and suggested that Pete was a violent man and Kathy had claimed she'd been raped to avoid her husband's wrath. Smugly believing that he had said enough to fool the police, Willmott-Brown was shocked to find himself charged with rape. Before he could stand trial for his crime, he attempted to bribe Kathy to drop the charges, and while she pretended to accept his money, D.I. Bob Ashley was actually listening in on them next door. James was subsequently found guilty and sentenced to three years in prison. His actions destroyed Kathy and Pete's marriage, as she could no longer stand him touching her, and they separated shortly afterward.

1992

Willmott-Brown was released in 1992 and returned to Albert Square, attempting to buy flats that Phil and Grant Mitchell had put up for sale. Planning to move back to Walford and set up a new business, he sent a tape message to Kathy asking her to meet him in his hotel room in Hampstead; he promised to disappear forever if she objected. Upon learning of James's return, Pete formed a mob to find him while Kathy planned to take him up on his offer. Finding him before Pete could, she listened to James talk about his time in prison and how much the experience had changed him, before telling him to leave Walford and never return. Despite promising to her that he would, he refused to do so, leaving Kathy feeling repulsed and rejected. Unknown to her, Pete had arrived to exact his revenge; he and his mobbed forced James into their car and drove him to Pete's high-rise flat building, where Pete threatened to punch him to his death unless he signed a paper stating he would leave Walford forever. Immediately following the events, Willmott-Brown called his solicitor and took out a injunction on Pete, but proceeded to move onto the Square. He also continued to send Kathy tapes, confessing his undying love for her.

Eventually, Kathy and Pete confronted James at his home, with Pete and James nearly coming to blows. An emotional Kathy finally relayed her anger and hurt over the rape and how furious she was with Willmott-Brown for never apologizing for his actions. James claimed that the two of them had something that was truly special, but Kathy snapped him out of his delusion by showing him how he had destruction he had brought on her and her family. In an attempt to get attention, James threatened to commit suicide, but Kathy stopped him, refusing to allow him to get off the hook so easily. Despite finally apologizing for raping her and begging for her forgiveness, she refused to forgive Willmott-Brown for his actions, believing that doing so would give him permission to stop feeling sorry for what he had done. Declaring that she would never do anything he asked her to again, including forgiving, Kathy finally received closure over the rape, while James left Walford in defeat.

Two years later, in 1994, Kathy began having nightmares about her rape, so her new husband Phil Mitchell went to search for James. He tracked down Wilmott-Brown's wife, Elizabeth, who informed him that her husband was back in prison for raping another woman.

2017

Twenty-five years after leaving Walford, James anonymously lays flowers addressed to Kathy at a memorial for her step-grandson Steven Beale. He reappears the following day when it's revealed that he is the mastermind behind the collusion between his own property development company - Weyland and Co - and their associate: Max Branning, who himself is conspiring with James to redevelop Albert Square as part of his own campaign to exact revenge on his family and friends for wrongfully imprisoning him for the murder of Lucy Beale as well as covering up the involvement of it's true culprit: Kathy's grandson Bobby Beale. Prior to these events, Max had became inmates with James' convicted son Luke Browning during his time in prison - which led to Luke parting his father's scheme to Max and inviting him to become involved so he could exact vengeance on those who wronged him. Since his release, Max has secretly instigated and executed numerous activities that Weyland and Co had perpetuated on James' behalf - culminating with his role in the death of Steven shortly after blackmailing him into committing arson. Weeks later, Luke is released and reunites with Max before the pair meet up with the rest of the family; consisting of James' daughter Fi, adopted son Josh Hemmings, and brother-in-law Hugo Browning. James then appears for the first time since twenty-five years ago and reunites with his family before introducing himself to Max.

James next appears when he walks into Luke and Hugo discussing their idea of organizing studio flats. Despite approving of their idea, James tells them that he has something else planned for Albert Square. On the day after Hugo and Luke have proceed with their development plans in Albert Square, James personally arrives later on that night and lets himself into the café - remembering the very night he raped Kathy nearly 30 years from now. Over the course of the next month, James examines the progress that his children are making in their schedules; it becomes apparent that neither Max nor both Fi and Luke are fully aware of James' past with Kathy, particularly when Luke starts a relationship with her son Ben - which he initially ends until James arranges to have their relationship recouped. Meanwhile, Fi works closely with Max and the two embark on a relationship behind the back of Max's current girlfriend: Carmel Kazemi, whom they soon learned has sealed bids that James intends to outbid as part of his scheme. By the time Max has assisted Luke in persuading Ben's best friend Jay Brown to sell the garage, James initially gives him the opportunity to persuade Ben's half-brother Ian Beale and his wife Jane to sell the café and move away; however, James later instructs Max to break their relationship in order to have Ian remain - stating that he too has plans for him as well. Max complies and manages to coerce Jane into leaving Albert Square without Ian by threatening their son: Bobby. As time goes on, however, Max's conscious starts to get the better of him and he tells James that he'll no longer be part of their plan. Fi turns up to see Max at Carmel's house, where they have sex. However, unbeknownst to Max, Fi hacks into Carmel's computer and steals the sealed bids. When James finds out about Max and Fi's relationship, Fi presents him with the sealed bids to earn her father's approval.

Eventually, James seizes the opportunity to reacquaint himself with Kathy when she closes the cafe on Halloween; she is started to come face-to-face with Willmott-Brown after twenty five years and secretly holds a knife, fearing what James would do to her. Acting casual, James tells Kathy that he has been diagnosed with terminal liver and that his intentions are all part his "last chance of a lifetime" — thus indirectly revealing his agenda in the process. When he claims that they are alike and should move on from the past, Kathy angrily demands that he explains the night of her rape. However, James ignores this by appearing to not understand her side of the story - prompting Kathy to retell it in full detail; while doing so, she deduces that James had indeed intended to rape her upon deliberately locking up the cafe that night. Once Kathy has finished in her sentence, James leaves the cafe — though not after leaving Kathy his address. When James learns that Phil is still in Walford, he sends Luke to attend at his daughter Louise's birthday meal to ensure that Phil doesn't learn of his presence should Kathy tell him. Despite this being successful, Kathy soon confines in Ian about her encounter with James — prompting him to inform Phil, who later plans on confronting James. The two finally meet when Phil visits James the next day, and issues a threat that he'll kill him "with his bare hands" should he harass Kathy again. James, however, dismisses the warning by telling Phil that Kathy is the least of her problems. Phil uses James' response to investigate his meaning, and he soon learns that Luke is his son after catching up on Ben's relationship with Luke. After failing to warn Luke away from his son, Phil informs Kathy about Luke being James son and they later confront Ben — who is initially angry at his father for intervening in his relationship with Luke, and wishes to disown him because of this; not wanting this to happen, Kathy is forced to explain to Ben that Phil was protecting him because of Luke's father. When Ben demands an explanation, Kathy tells him about her rape and — although he comes to realize it's the truth — he reacts badly about it. As he continues to struggle with the process Ben is determined to hurt Willmott-Brown — despite objections from his parents, with Kathy ordering him to stay out of it. Ben confronts Luke about what he was told, and his chance to confront his father is unexpectedly granted when Luke tells him that James wishes to meet him. Secretly taking a hammer with him, Ben meets Willmott-Brown and wishes to speak with him alone — prompting James to order Luke out until they've finished. At the moment Luke leaves, Ben confronts James over the rape and gets angry enough to lash out when James insists that he and Kathy were having an affair — which he states was consensual. Just as Luke prepares to attack James, however, Luke rushes into the office and pulls Ben off his father — who continues to taunt Ben about his mother's claims, going as far as to say he knows that Ben is oblivious as to whether Kathy was telling the truth or not.

When Max's daughter Lauren finds out about Project Dagmar and the model showing how Albert Square will be, Willmott-Brown demands to Max that Lauren keeps quiet; James meets Lauren when she continues to investigate this, and he tells her that the project has been dropped and to delete photos of the plans. At this point, Fi finds out that the Carters have raised £50,000; the final stages are officially set once James is informed about this, and he invites Max to join him and Hugo with their preparations. During a celebration party in the Queen Vic, with Josh and Lauren also being present, Max and Fi enter into the pub and kiss in front of everyone — including Carmel, who rushes out upon discovering their affair. Shortly afterwards, James and Luke arrive and explain that they won Grafton Hill. After bidding Kathy hello upon seeing her and Ian together, with the pair shocked to see James once again, he serves the Carters with an eviction notice — putting up the money owed to the original £60,000. James subsequently proceeds to tell everyone that he plans on turning the Square into luxury flats, before declaring a toast to Max for his collaboration with Weyland & Co; Max's betrayal is revealed when he goes over to join James and Luke in their celebration, surprising Ian and the others. Max attempts to rub his glory even further by proposing to Fi, but is stunned when she silently refuses. James goes on to tell Max that he is grateful for his contribution to Weyland & Co, but instantly betrays him when he gets Luke to burn his cheque — stating that his loyalty was doubted and that he was never part of their team. With his plan finally accomplished, James leaves with his children to proceed in their next stages — leaving Max to face the music as Ian and the Carters confront him for his actions.

The next morning, James authorizes a full-out eviction on every resident in Albert Square; sending Josh to send one to Ian when Lauren quits her job, and getting Luke to meet up with Kathy to tell her that her cafe now belongs to Weyland & Co. Luke completes this task, but is suddenly ambushed and taken away by masked men; it turns out that Phil has arranged for his ex-cellmate, Aidan Magurie, to have Luke abducted as payback for assaulting Ben on the night before — which explains why Kathy left the pub at the moment James arrived to announce his plans. Josh, meanwhile, gives Lauren the cheque for Max — revealing that the one Luke burned was a copy. In the meantime, Ian becomes determined to get his mother's cafe back and personally visits James to record a confession of him admitting to raping Kathy. At first James merely ignores this and instead recalls the time he had with Kathy, but ultimately confirms that he did rape her. Ian attempts to leave, but is restrained by security — as James had anticipated Ian's intention — and his recording is deleted.

It soon becomes clear that Josh is uncomfortable with his father's methods, and he tells Lauren that the development can be stopped; she initially refuses to help him, angry at what his family have put the square through, but relents when he explains that Willmott-Brown bribes council officials to cover-up Weyland & Co's corrupt activities — which Josh intends to extract information on by downloading the files for his father's computer. As he is doing this, Lauren gets involved in a press launch that James and Fi are hosting; she stages a protest to hold them up, but is arrested as she continues to rally the crowd against James. Despite Lauren warning Josh about his father making his way back, James and Fi arrive in time to discover Josh's attempt to betray him. Willmott-Brown confronts Josh for this and taunts him over his relationship with Lauren; when he calls her a "cheap tart", he slams his father against a wall and quits his job in frustration. James responds by disowning Josh, who Lauren forgives and commends for standing up to her father. When Fi tries to get him to return, Josh confines in her that their father has ruined and control their lives in the way how he previously did to their mothers. When James is confronted by Fi over this, being asked over the circumstances of her mother's suicide and Josh's mother Wendy not getting a job, he insists that everything he did was for her and her brothers. Fi realizes that James didn't answer her question and again confronts her father, prompting him to issue a warning that she is either with him or "out on her own". Fi reaches out to her father once more for answers, only for James to shove her down the ground before walking away. Kathy notices this and helps Fi, who later on asks her about the rape and becomes physically sick when she gets told about it.

Towards the end of the year after Christmas, Fi's trust in her father has been deteriorating. After showing her documents that could ruin Weyland & Co, James rebuffs her when she grows concerned over his health. James continues to pay no attention to Fi even when she attempts to pick up a conversation with him, going as far as to deny her request in tracking down Luke and bringing Josh back to the fold. This causes Fi to confront him over Kathy's rape, and James instantly disowns her when she says that Kathy is telling the truth about him raping her; he orders her pass to be confiscated when throwing her out of the building. Later on, James visits Kathy to manipulate her into starting anew together - offering his fortune to her and proposing that they leave Walford for good. While talking about the things that have occurred to them in the past, Kathy argues with James as he continues to twist things — even after when James admits to being responsible for the things that Max has done, including Steven's death and Jane's departure. Kathy seemingly appears to accept the idea of them being together, but stops James from proposing to her when she points out that his confession is merely a ruse for him to pay her into accepting his proposal — which Willmott-Brown himself denies. Kathy then proceeds to give her answer, and suddenly grabs him at the front — telling James "no" and that she belongs with her family and friends in Walford. Kathy tells James that he is going to hell no matter how much effort he makes at accomplishing something, and issues a threat should they ever cross paths again. James subsequently returns to the office, where he finds the documents missing; it turns out that Fi has stolen then and brought them to the police upon realizing how evil her father really is. The police turn up to question Willmott-Brown, who attempts to destroy the evidence as they barge into his office — but ends up collapsing in a heart attack and is taken to hospital. There, Fi visits her father and tells him that she will no longer go on to try and get his approval — saying that all she wanted his love. A devastated James attempts to reach out for Fi as she goes to leave, but could only listen to her telling the nurse that she is not his daughter. James is consequently left to die alone.

Trivia

  • TO BE ADDED!