Sutton was born as James Cook in Sutton Coldfield to mother Jeanette. It is from his hometown that he derived his stage name of Sutton. He is the oldest of three children, with a younger brother Ben and sister Amy.
He grew up in the village of Haughton, Staffordshire and attended King Edward VI School in Stafford. At the age of 14 he moved to Sambrook, Newport and attended the Burton Borough School in Newport, Shropshire. James went on to study drama at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff.
Prior to Hollyoaks, Sutton had roles in the Dream Team spin-off Dream Team 80s, playing Terry Glover, and in Lynda La Plante's Trial and Retribution X, playing a character called Barry Milne.
In September 2006 he joined the cast of Hollyoaks as John Paul McQueen. During this portrayal, his character came out as being gay and started having an affair with his best friend, Craig Dean. The storyline was nominated for, and won, many awards. He left the soap on-screen in September 2008. In Sutton's first post-Hollyoaks role, he guest starred as Eli Taylor who suffered from Narcolepsy and Cataplexy on the BBC series Casualty, in the episode titled 'Doing The Right Thing' which aired 13th December 2008.
On 23rd March 2009, it was announced that Sutton would join the cast of ITV1's Emmerdale. Sutton will play the role of mechanic Ryan Daniel Lamb, son of newcomer Faye Lamb and already established character Mark Wylde. Ryan's first appearance was on 15th June 2009.
On 8th February 2011, it was announced that James Sutton would leave Emmerdale after approximately two years in the show. His last day on the show was 18th March 2011. His last episode was aired on Tuesday 26th April 2011.
In 2011 James took on the role of Orsino from Twelfth Night in the BBC Learning project "Off By Heart Shakespeare" and delivered the speech "If music be the food of love, play on".
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