Jim Carter has been acting for over 30 years. His Masterpiece credits include Midsomer Murders, The Way We Live Now, The Wind in the Willows, The Secret Life of Mrs. Beeton, Cranford and Return to Cranford among others. His best-known roles include Fox in The Madness of King George and Ralph Bashford in Shakespeare in Love. Carter is married to Imelda Staunton, who has also appeared in numerous Masterpiece productions. He appears alongside Kenneth Branagh (Wallander) in the 2011 feature film My Week with Marilyn.
Of his Downton Abbey character, Carson, Carter observes, "People have a great affection for Carson. It's odd that the butler occupies such an iconic status in our culture. He is almost part of English folklore — what the butler saw or the butler did it. The name "butler" does a lot of the work for you!" Yet considering a charitable bike ride he did in Ghana to raise money for the charity Friends of Tafo, he concludes, "I love that variety in my job. I could never be a butler in real life. Too much routine!"