James Peregrine Lester was the administrator of the Anomaly operation and a liaison with the British Government. He initially saw the Anomaly team as inadequate, but gradually came to respect and care about them.
James Lester was born circa 1969. At some point in his life, he married and had three children. (Episode 2.6, Shadow of the Jaguar) He became a government official at the Home Office, working in management consultancy (Episode 1.6) before moving into planning civil contingency plans (planning for every crisis available including alien invasion). (Episode 1.1, Fire and Water) James worked with Tom Samuels, who once went over Lester's head and presented a contingency plan to the Minister, however he asked for Lester response so the latter pointed out all the weakness in Tom's plan which resulted in the Minister firing Samuels. (Fire and Water)
- « "You prepare for just about every crisis imaginable, up to and including an alien invasion; then this happens. So much for thinking outside the bloody box!" »
- — James Lester to Claudia Brown on the newly-discovered Anomaly phenomenon.
After Claudia Brown and Nick Cutter and the latter's team discovered an Anomaly in the Forest of Dean and the Home Office were called in to deal with the crisis, Lester was appointed the administrator of the Anomaly operation. Lester met with Claudia at the Home Office to discuss the crisis with her, and he was suspicious of Cutter and reluctant over the fact that civilians were being made part of the new Anomaly research team, but willing to tolerate it.
Lester subsequently discussed Cutter's theories about the Anomaly and what it could be with him (with neither of the two making any attempt to conceal their dislike for one another), and though Lester was slightly skeptical that the Anomaly was a portal to the distant past, he accepted Cutter's theories and had Rex tested on to confirm Cutter's theory. Lester observed the tests with Cutter, Claudia and Abby Maitland, until Rex escaped from the lab and began flying around the Home Office. Abby and Claudia eventually recaptured Rex by using Abby's skill with Rex to coerce him out of escaping from the building, but Lester then found to his chagrin that Rex had secreted on his suit during his flight around the Home Office.
After the results from the tests on Rex confirmed that he was a Coelurosauravus from the Permian period, Lester agreed to authorise an exploration mission by Cutter through the Anomaly in search of Nick's wife Helen, and to allow Rex to be returned through to his home. The next day, after Cutter returned through the Anomaly before it closed with a camera belonging to Helen, when Lester, Cutter and Claudia saw that it contained photos of Helen in the Permian, Lester believed Helen to be dead. Lester then discussed what Cutter and Captain Tom Ryan saw on the other side of the Anomaly, and though he was worried over the fact that humans had been to the Permian before them, Lester felt that with the Anomaly gone the crisis was over. Cutter, on the other hand, was convinced otherwise due to how little they knew about the Anomaly, and then left the Home Office with the new Anomaly research team.
- « "And how do you suggest I explain this to the Mayor? 'Excuse me sir, would you mind terribly throwing the whole bloody Underground into chaos because we think there might be a fare-dodging creepy crawly on the loose somewhere!?'" »
- — Lester's opposition to closing down the London Underground.
After Claudia had the Forest of Dean Anomaly incursion covered up, Lester discussed with Claudia whether or not to keep Cutter on the team as the field team leader; Lester was growing skeptical of Cutter's unorthodox methods, but Claudia defended Cutter and Lester agreed to keep him on the team. Lester also wondered whether Claudia had taken to Cutter.
Later, Claudia and Cutter went to Lester about an attack by a new, venomous creature on a London Underground pest controller, and Cutter wanted Lester to close the Underground down until the new incursion was dealt with, to stop the creature poisoning anymore victims. Lester was strongly against this due to the chaos it would cause, and the fact that he felt the evidence of a new Anomaly incursion was too flimsy; but Claudia managed to convince Lester to simply close down the Arsenal Station area of the Underground where the pest controller was attacked, and Lester begrudgingly agreed.
- « "I know the injustice stings, but the correct decision is often painful. That's the burden of government." »
- — Lester defends his actions in the case of Diane Johnson.
After the London Underground Anomaly was contained, Lester and a board meeting of other Home Office officials learned from Connor Temple that the Anomaly was not weakening, and Lester and Cutter discussed and somewhat argued over the Anomalies and the seriousness of the situation. Lester then received word of a possible new Anomaly incursion at the Crystal Palace Diving Institute, and Cutter and Claudia went to investigate. When the police wrongly arrested Diane Johnson for Anthony Barton's death by a Mosasaur, Lester refused to drop the charges, and allowed the police to arrest Diane so that she couldn't expose the Anomalies to the wider public. Claudia was strongly against this, but Lester won the argument.
Shortly after, a bolus of Anthony Barton's remains appeared at a reservoir, and left the Home Office puzzled as to how they went to there from Crystal Palace. Lester believed that Diane probably had indeed murdered Anthony, but Cutter believed otherwise due to overwhelming evidence otherwise, and theorised to Lester and Claudia that the new Anomaly was mobile and had moved from Crystal Palace to the reservoir. Cutter's theory was subsequently confirmed, but after the Anomaly was found in the reservoir, it closed again.
Cutter discussed the mobile Anomaly with Lester, Stephen and Claudia at the Home Office, and theorised that the Anomaly was running along a temporal fault line and could reopen again anywhere along the fault line. Lester was highly skeptical of this theory and optimistic that the Anomaly would not reopen again, but Cutter believed otherwise. The Home Office later discovered, to Lester's misery, that the Anomaly had indeed reopened along the temporal fault line, when a Hesperornis attacked a plumber in a flooded basement. Lester and Claudia then began discussing getting the mobile Anomaly incursions covered up, when Claudia was called and they learned that the body of the Special Forces diver that went through the Anomaly in the reservoir had appeared at the Anomaly site, upsetting Lester further.
After Claudia learned that Helen Cutter was in fact alive and living in the past through the Anomalies, and Nick had kept it secret, Lester came to the Dexter house and revealed the newly-discovered truth about Helen to the rest of the team. Lester decided that the team had to make contact with Helen and gain her much more extensive knowledge on the Anomalies so as to better contain and control the Anomaly crisis in the present. Lester also wanted Nick Cutter to be the one to go through the mobile Anomaly to find and make contact with Helen on the other side, threatening to completely remove Cutter from the Anomaly operation and have the Special Forces find Helen if Cutter refused. Cutter begrudgingly agreed to go through in search of Helen, on the condition that Helen would not be forced to come back to the present if she refused.
While Cutter was on the other side of the Anomaly making contact with Helen, Lester wanted to break the agreement with Cutter and send the Special Forces through to capture Helen and bring her back to the present by force if she refused to come back with Nick. Claudia was strongly against this, but Lester won the argument, and got Claudia to bring in a team of Special Forces divers, and send them through the Anomaly to capture Helen after Nick returned. Once the Special Forces returned with Helen, Lester and Claudia left and took her with them to the Home Office for questioning on the Anomalies.
Lester and Claudia subsequently interrogated Helen at the Home Office, with Lester trying to force her to cooperate and tell them everything she knew about the Anomalies. However, Helen refused and remained collected and laid-back, finding loopholes in Lester's claims about why Helen had to cooperate with them, until Lester quickly began to tire and get frustrated, and threaten to resort to having Helen's Anomaly knowledge tortured out of her. When Helen claimed to Nick Cutter that an open Anomaly would soon release a pride of Smilodon onto Central London, Nick went to Lester and Claudia about this. Both of them did not trust Helen and suspected it to be a trick, but Nick managed to convince them to let Helen lead the team to the alleged Anomaly site by warning Lester and Claudia of the risk of doing nothing if Helen was indeed telling the truth.
Later, after Helen escaped through the Anomaly from the team and a flock of Dodos came through, when Cutter, Stephen and Abby learned that the Dodos were infected with a Parasite, Cutter showed this discovery to Lester and how the Parasite's life cycle worked; the latter leaving Lester repulsed and disgusted. When Tom was infected by the Parasite and went on the run in London from the team, Lester discussed the Parasite's potential for a pandemic with Cutter, Stephen and Claudia. Lester also openly believed that Helen had deliberately sent the Parasite in its Dodo hosts to the present to spark a pandemic, and when Cutter denied it, Lester accused Cutter of knowing but simply refusing to admit it, before sending Cutter and the team off to find Tom.
A month after the Parasite incursion, Lester became impatient with Cutter and with the team's lack of progress and wanted to see results. When Claudia and the team were investigating a possible Anomaly incursion at the Forest Heights Country Club, Lester at one point called Claudia to hear what had happened, but she chose not to answer and to pretend she hadn't gotten the call in time.
After talking with Cutter, Claudia was confident and fully convinced that they could rely on Cutter for the Anomaly-containing operation, but Lester did not share Claudia's confidence in Nick and hoped that Nick would be able to make progress soon before they faced a major Anomaly incursion.
After a spate of three disappearances occurred over a couple days and coincided with the Forest of Dean Anomaly reopening, Stephen relayed to Cutter, Lester and Claudia a new message from Helen; she demanded that they meet her in private without any thugs or ambushes to hear what she had to warn them about a creature behind the disappearances. Lester suspected Helen would manipulate and deceive them again and was skeptical that a creature was responsible for the disappearances, but he agreed to play along on the warning that Helen would be wanted again if she lied to them again.
Lester, Claudia, Nick and Stephen met up with Helen in private at a park as she'd demanded, and she revealed to them that the creature was an agile and deadly Predator from the future - a fact which left Lester distressed and exasperated that they were now facing creatures from the future as well as the past. Helen explained that she'd encountered the Future Predator in the Permian after it had theoretically come to there through a future Anomaly, before coming through the reopened Forest of Dean Anomaly to the present.
After the team tracked down and killed the Future Predator and captured its infant young, Helen and Nick tried to convince Lester and Claudia that they had to keep the Predator young alive to use them to locate the future Anomaly in the Permian, so that a permanent mission into the Permian could contain the Anomaly and stop any more future creatures coming through and interfering in the past. Lester reluctantly agreed to this plan, and set about having the Cutters lead Ryan and his men on this mission into the past through the Forest of Dean Anomaly.
The following day, Lester was present with the team at the Forest of Dean Anomaly site as the Cutters and the Special Forces prepared for the mission through the Anomaly. Lester thought aloud to Claudia about making a 'one small step for man' speech about the mission through time, and commented that she was being unprofessional after she gave Cutter a departing kiss. Nick and Helen then went through the Anomaly into the Permian with Ryan and his men, leaving Lester, Claudia and the team waiting at the Anomaly site in the present for them to return.
In the new timeline created during the second mission into the Permian, Lester's biography up to the mission was apparently the same, except he and the field team, at some early point, moved from the Home Office to the Anomaly Research Centre, and Lester was a less distant administrator of the Anomaly operation.
Eventually, Nick and Helen returned through the Forest of Dean Anomaly to the present, with the mission having failed and everyone else having died. Before Helen went back into the Permian on her own to continue searching for the future Anomaly, she revealed in front of the entire team how she and Stephen had had an affair in the past, causing Lester to feel awkward at the mood between Cutter and Stephen. Once Helen had gone, Cutter demanded to know where Claudia Brown was (even threateningly grabbing Lester), but neither Lester nor anyone else knew who Claudia was or what had gotten into Cutter, due to the change in the timeline having removed Claudia from history.
- « "Leek, has the concept of personal space ever been explained to you?" »
- — Lester does not like Leek near him
In the new timeline, Lester runs the ARC where his team have moved to. He doesn't believe Cutter's claims that the timeline is different after his return through the Permian Anomaly, thinking he is beginning to lose his mind. His assistant, Oliver Leek, annoys him constantly by speaking out of term and questions the Minister's decision to appoint a PR representative to assist in the operation, but warmed to the idea when Cutter informed him of Raptors in a shopping centre. he later introduces the PR, Jenny Lewis to the team.
- « "Yes, I think I can understand the implications, Leek" »
- — Lester reminds Leek, he is not stupid
After he had introduced Jenny to the team, he was disappointed in Cutter's reaction, who was claiming that she was the Claudia they had worked with from the start. Cutter and Connor then announced their idea to create a detector for Anomalies, and agreed, without needing the prompting Leek had made. When Leek announced a possible Anomaly in a skyscraper, Lester was prepared to write it off as an ordinary fire until possible creature sightings were mentioned. Jenny kept in contact with him, but she had little to report.
Jaime Bairstow, the son of Sir Charles Bairstow, whom was one of James Lester's superiors was killed by a Thylacosmilus, in Peru, while back-packing with his brother, Cam Bairstow. After hearing about it, and getting an anomaly alert, Lester announced to Cutter that there was a creature incursion. Cutter, Stephen, Connor, and Abby all travelled to Peru, in order to deal with it. When they came back, it was revealed that a Future Bird was responsible for the Thylacosmilus' aggressive behaviour. Cutter then theorised to Lester that the creature might possibly have been seen by the Incas, and incorporated into their mythology, eventually becoming the Incan god, Pacha Kamaq.
When the ADD picked up numerous anomalies on Guns Island, off of the coast of Ireland, Lester sent the ARC Team over there, to investigate. Meanwhile, back at the ARC, Lester is again having significant problems, with the press. Now, Lester must struggle to keep the anomalies a secret, as the story keeps inching ever closer to the front page of the leading local newspapers.
- « "That's not good news, good news makes people happy." »
- — Lester on the current creature incursion
Following the discovery of a Future Shark, Lester assumed the creature had killed a missing teenager and that the problem was solved, Cutter insisted something else was out there, because Cutter had heard something that sounded like singing in the canal and found no vocal cords in the shark, so he agreed to have the canal searched again. When Abby was taken by a creature, he had the distraught Connor sent home and berated Cutter for not sharing his theories, and had him fired before putting Stephen in charge. After Abby was rescued from the Mer Creatures in the future by Cutter and Connor, he reinstated Cutter after saying that he shouldn't have put Stephen in charge, and decided the Anomaly site should be sealed with concrete.
- « ""Are you out of your mind, Cutter and I loathed each other." »
- — Lester corrects one of Leek's many mistakes
After being told by Abby and Connor that Cutter and Stephen had been lost in the Silurian Desert whilst rescuing a girl, he reluctantly put the pair in charge of the operation, and stated that if the Anomaly reopened, they would attempt a rescue mission. Leek offered his sympathies, but Lester didn't accept them. After a new Anomaly opened to a prehistoric-themed amusement park, he approached the returned Cutter and Stephen, and said that given the choice between him and Connor, Cutter was the better man to lead the team.
- « "You're on your own, James. There's no one there but you." »
- — Leek leaves Lester to fight on his own
- « "The government does not negotiate with hostage takers!" »
- — Lester on Leek"s threat against Cutter
Lester was angered by the disappearance of Cutter, Jenny, Connor and Abby, and demanded his assistant Loraine do something to find out Leek's plans. After Leek contacted the ARC and taunted Lester, a Giant Scorpion was released by Leek into a populated beach, so Lester convinced a reluctant Stephen (who assumed Lester was the traitor) to do something. After a virus Cutter and Connor had planted inside Leek's computer system sent the ARC information, Lester's people began clearing up his menagerie. Leek demanded Lester's men stay away from his base or he would have his controlled Future Predators kill Cutter, but Cutter freed them, and Lester watched as Leek was killed, before calmly telling Loraine to shut it off. He later appeared at Stephen's funeral, and when informed there was a new Anomaly, somewhat unsympathetically told the team to head off.
Lester is first seen inside his chauffeur-driven car just off Oxford Street, along with Jenny Lewis. He awaits the results of an anomaly incursion, witnessing an enormous mob of people running for their lives and screaming. Soon, the Team finds out that they are up against an Entelodon, a deadly prehistoric pig-like creature. It attacks Jenny, but she manages to escape. After the Oxford Street incident, Lester is angry at Cutter for wanting to keep the creature alive, thinking that he should just shoot it and kill it, right there, on the spot. Later on, when Cutter, Abby, and Connor are kidnapped by Nikolai Medyevin and Koshkin, Lester contacted the Foreign Office, and MI5. Both of them decided that Medyevin was in the U.K. on an illegal Visa, and so, presumably, is the other kidnapper. Afterwards, when Lester finds out that the three of them were rendited into Siberia, he decides that the entire situation is inherently hopeless, due to political and tactical issues in attempts to retrieve them. Soon Helen was captured and while Lester interrogated her she revealed she knew how to get into Siberia, and offered to take them to the team. Lester reluctantly agreed, but wasn't happy about the idea of Jenny going too. However, he eventually gave in; Jenny, Hemple, and Helen then travelled to Siberia, and they managed to return the kidnapped Cutter, Abby, and Connor back to England.
- « "You'll be dealing with a highly strung and and temperamental team of rank amateurs who just happen to be brilliant at what they do. Your job's to stop them getting themselves killed...Oh, by the way, Professor Cutter won't like you, and he'll go out of his way to make your job as difficult as possible. Don't take it personally" »
- — James Lester telling Becker about the team[src]
Lester showed Captain Becker around the ARC, not wanting another death in the team. Later, fellow civil servant Christine Johnson was assigned to be the military liaison for the ARC. The two rivals met and spoke briefly at White Hall, before he was sent away. When the team returned to the ARC, Lester greeted the witness to the events, Sarah Page, and when she and Connor were talking, Cutter got an idea about creatures affecting mythological beasts, which might help in trying to predicting Anomalies. Lester agreed to hire Sarah, and when queried about the Sun Cage in which the Anomaly was contained, Lester said that it was moving on.
- « "You are so fired." »
- — Lester when the Cutter Clone threatens him
- « "Keep things calm, controlled and if you can manage it, slightly dull" »
- — Lester does not like things too exciting
Following Cutter's death, he appoints Jenny to take over the team until a replacement could be found. He seemed unsympathetic to Abby and Connor, but told Jenny it was better that they work because it would keep their minds focused. When the team returned from Christine's base where an Anomaly had been detected, he was extremely angry and contacted Christine and was assured (though far from convinced) that she had nothing that would threaten the anomaly operation, and he warned her that the ARC operation was his.
- « "I have a feeling I'm going to profoundly regret this." »
- — Lester on his decision to allow Connor to move in
Lester travelled to a South African Safari Park, along with Danny, Sarah, and Sophie, in order to investigate an anomaly there. He rode in the back of the car, with Sophie driving, and Danny sitting in the passenger seat, right next to Sophie. During the ride, Lester was extremely annoyed with Danny, because he believed that Danny was acting overly stupid. When they finally arrived at the hotel that they were going to be staying in, Lester was shocked to find that it was surrounded by lions. Afterwards, they had an encounter with a Eustreptospondylus, but Danny managed to drive it away, by acting as sort of a "matador", for it. After the Eustreptospondylus left the lodge, it fought with some lions, before finally retreating. When Lester again left at night, for a stroll around the park with Danny and Sophie, he witnessed the Eustreptospondylus getting killed in a fight with a Postosuchus. Afterwards, when that Postosuchus killed Sophie, Lester was somewhat insensitive towards her death, making several rude comments, about it, which angered Danny, whom had a crush on her, before she was killed. As usual, on his visit to the Safari Park,Lester was overly preoccupied with Christine Johnson. This was shown when he asked Tom Samuels if he was working for her. Samuels was shocked. He responded by saying that he hadn't heard anything about her in years, he didn't even know if she was still alive. As usual, Lester's response to him was overly riddled with sarcasm.
- « "You know, this isn't over Christine." »
- — Lester isn't going to give up being in charge of the ARC so easily
Lester was preparing to head off to a dinner with the Chinese ambassador, and was learning to bluff his way in mandarin with a CD. Connor jokingly asked if he could go as his plus one, and when looking for his invitation, Connor said it was probably in his jacket pocket. He couldn't find it, and heard the Diictodon Nancy nearby, and found she had chewed off part his invitation and most of his jacket. Furious, he snarled at Connor, who had clearly tried to cover it up. When the team returned from the Future City Anomaly, Danny reported seeing Captain Wilder and a mysterious woman as they were leaving. Lester told Danny an Anomaly had been detected at Christine's Headquarters, but that she had insisted nothing was fine. Assuming she had access to an Anomaly and a cloaking device of some sort, Lester decided to meet with the Minster to discuss the situation, and told Danny to stay away.
- « "We can't let her kill Christine, it contravenes with health and safety" »
- — Lester lets Helen Cutter go with Christine
Lester called Danny as he was informing him he had a meeting with the Minister, and wanted to know where he was. Danny claimed to be stuck in traffic, and as he started to hang up, Lester asked him not to do anything that he would regret. Danny later rang to say he was bringing someone with him to meet him, and before Lester could inquire as to who, Christine arrived with an arrest warrant for Danny as he had broken into her facility. Danny tried to cover this up, and Lester looked out his office window and saw the mysterious woman Danny had talked about. As the woman took Christine at gunpoint, she suddenly changed into Helen Cutter. With Lester's men pointing guns at her and with her threatening to kill Christine, he reluctantly told his soldiers to stand down and for Connor to hand over the Artefact, as Lester couldn't allow Christine to be killed as it would go against health and safety.
After the disappearance of Connor, Abby and Danny, the ARC operation is suspended. Lester later is interrogated, he is made to give out their names. He is asked if he believes he they are still alive, he replies since they went into the future, they are technically still alive as even if they were killed in that world they would still be alive for another x number of centuries. He says that although the rescue attempts failed, the mission achieved it's goal as there is no sign of Helen, the questioner doesn't know who she is so Lester describes her simply as a "nasty woman". When asked if he feels that the ARC should be allowed to continue in the first place, he says that it was colossal mistake to suspend them in the first place, a decision that minster already has good cause to regret, noting the incident when a Stegosaurus appeared in the Members Bar at the House of Commons. Becker wants to resign as he believes Danny, Connor and Abby are dead, though Lester thinks they're still alive. Becker is told that Lester is needed, and Lester wants him. Lester is informed that the ARC will be allowed to carry out it's work, "in one form or another", Lester doesn't like the sound of that. (S4 Prequel Episode 1)
As Jess Parker explains, the ARC is 50% privately owned and 50% government owned; Lester is still allowed to choose the staff. He chooses Matt Anderson as the new team leader. Lester is forced to keep both the Minister and Philip Burton satisfied. (S4 Prequel Episode 2) Lester bears witness to Matt's speech to the ARC personnel, where Matt states that hope is not lost for Danny, Connor and Abby and they aren't giving up on them, Lester gives him a pleased look when he finishes. (S4 Prequel Episode 4)
- « "Trust Connor to bring a pet back with him" »
- — Lester hides his relief that Connor and Abby are back
When the Dracorex is accidentally set free by Jess and rampages through the ARC, Lester was elsewhere in the ARC, and unaware of the exact nature of the situation. He arrived to find the Dracorex roaring at him, but Matt managed to lure it to Lester's office, to his displeasure, with water and traps it in there. It trashes Lester's office before it is knocked out by tranquiliser darts and contained. He assumed Jess was responsible, but Matt took the blame. Philip Burton then arrived, saying that the Minister had agreed to add extra budget to the ARC operation, and Lester asked Jess to warn him if there was a meeting between the pair again, but she replied that she wasn't allowed to.
Later when an Anomaly was being secured, Jess reported to Lester that Connor and Abby had come through the Anomaly from the Cretaceous, and though he asked about Danny, he didn't get an answer. He wasn't surprised that Connor had wanted to bring a pet back, and soon the team was dealing with a Spinosaurus in the streets. Lester, wanting the pair back at the ARC as soon as possible, attempted to get Jess to put Connor and Abby through to him after learning they had taken off after the dinosaur, but she didn't want him touching her equipment despite his threat to replace her. After the crisis was over, Lester greeted the pair, stiffly recuperating Abby's hug, but not Connor's attempt. Philip arrived, and they went into Lester's office, where the pair were told that their jobs as field operatives were no longer necessary as the job was now for military operatives, and though Connor begged Lester to reconsider, he told him that it had been his idea after their disappearance and Sarah's death, but he did offer them a place to stay until they could get themselves sorted.
- « "I'm doing all I can, things are difficult now" »
- — Lester still wants Connor back
Connor and Abby arrived back to be interviewed about their experience, and Lester convinced Philip to give Abby a job looking after the creatures as she was the best candidate. When the pair collect their things from their untouched lockers, Lester offered Abby the minor job, but there was nothing that could be done for Connor, and while saying he'd see what he could do for him, asked him to keep a low profile for the time being. But after Connor went out on his own to investigate a creature at the docks, a Kaprosuchus that came through an Anomaly years before the detector was made, and helped kill it, and with Matt's prompting, he convinced Philip that as Connor and Abby had already been field team members before they disappeared, the new policy didn't affect them. Connor, unaware of this, came back and demanded Lester for his job back, and Lester agreed without argument, but when when he asked for a raise as well, Lester told him not to push his luck.
- « "You know what I think? Underneath it all, you're actually quite nice."
"Repeat that disgraceful slander and you'll be hearing from my lawyers." »
- — Abby to Lester who tries to keep up outward appearances in the government
Philip later decided to have the creatures being contained put down due to the inconvenience and supposed cruelty of allowing them to live in a world they didn't understand, brought on by his experience. Lester didn't quite agree with Philip, claiming that what had happened included a certain human's error, but had no choice as such. Jess later came to Lester and told him of Abby's plan to take the creatures elsewhere to keep them from getting killed, and he told Abby to stop what she was doing, seeing as there was no way she could get them out and that he didn't want to have to call security in on her. Abby spoke of how they were being given the chance to see these creatures alive and that if they were killed it would not look too good on humanity. Lester decided not to co-sign an agreement with Philip, saying that if the public were ever to find out about this, he certainly wouldn't be the scapegoat, essentially blackmailing Philip. He changed his mind, but told Lester he wouldn't forget about it. Abby was extremely grateful and hugged Lester again, this time leading him to say it would lead to others talking, and when she said that beneath his sarcastic exterior and was actually nice, he gave a light threat to involve his lawyers about the slander. As he left, he told Abby that her overfed Mammoth had saved his life and that he would have thought it rude if he didn't return the favor.
- « "Try turning the volume up" »
- — Matt helps Lester with his computer
Matt and Abby told Lester about Emily Merchant, a Victorian era woman who had come through an Anomaly and had been staying with Matt before she disappeared. Lester wasn't happy that they had kept this from him, and said that despite what Becker said would be done with her, she would have only been temporarily contained until they could figure out what to do with her. Then an new Anomaly was detected, but the signal was fluctuating, preventing a location lock. Philip was intrigued and ordered the team to get down there, before remembering it was Lester's call. Despite being unhappy with Philip, he agreed to send the team down. Jess later showed Lester a security capture of Ethan kidnapping Emily, and when Philip managed to hone in on the Anomaly he ordered Abby and Connor to go after it, but Lester told them to go after the creature, but Philip convinced Connor to find the Anomaly. Lester told Jess to help Connor while he helped Matt locate Emily and Ethan, but only after asking for her help on a few simple computer problems. He sarcastically told Matt he was the new Jess when he began guiding a surprised Matt. He tracked a Black Box Emily had taken, and led Matt to the Tower Hill Cemetery, where Emily was rescued but Ethan escaped.
- « "By the power invested in me..." »
- — Jenny and Michael get married by Lester
Emily, Matt and Becker were in Lester's office, with Emily telling them about Ethan, and tasked Becker with seeing if he had a police record. Lester suggests she go finds her friends back on the other side of the anomaly, but Matt insisted she stays, even though Lester will have to go to the Minister and Philip. When Emily asks what will happen to her if that happens, Lester says that he doesn't know and won't be able to protect her from what they decide. Lester is asked to preform the marriage vows for Jenny Lewis and her fiance Michael at their wedding, and he does so via video link form the ARC, using the power invested by the Minister at his request to make the union official.
- « "Helen Cutter, dead?"
"As a dodo."
- — Lester couldn't be happier about Helen's death
- « "Why don't I just give you a tank!" »
- — Lester is against real guns
Lester was stuck in heavy traffic, and asked Jess about "the greatest anomaly" ever; workers never doing any work. After yelling at the roadworkers, the ground collapsed under one of the workers, who then disappeared in the tunnel below. After the incident, Jess told him that he had two messages from the Cabinet Office about a knighthood, and he assumed it was for him. Lester proceeded to tell Jess that a man has apparently been snatched by a creature, and though no anomalies had been detected, she sounded the alert. Lester then asked her for a helicopter to get to the meeting. Lester arrived at the ARC, and wasn't as concerned with the mission as his meeting. He later met with the interviewer Ms Reece in his office, and despite some mission status reports from Jess, he refused to let it distract him for too long. When the interview was over, he learned that the knighthood was actually for Philip, and he had inadvertently set any worries aside. Lester kept calm until she left and was in his office before he began yelling in frustration. Despite not being happy with a shopping centre being blown up, he said he'd clear it up with the right people, as apparently that was the only thing his name was worth.
- « "Now we know how the dinosaurs went extinct" »
- — Lester angry at the Admiral's actions
When a new anomaly was detected in the North Sea, Lester received a call from the Admiralty, informing him of a situation involving the anomaly and a submarine. He was unimpressed as a Navy Admiral arrived at the ARC to oversee their operations, and could only watch as the mission fell apart and the submarine the team were on went through the anomaly. When the Admiral decided to try blowing up the anomaly Lester wasn't happy, and attempted to have the Minister overturn the decision, however this didn't work. Instead he tried to delay the launch, which failed just as the sub came back through and almost hit them, who in turn launched their torpedo to seal the anomaly. He watched with great pleasure as the Admiral was berated on his phone by the Minister.Tyrannosaurus was in the city, and their little secret was out. While several anomalies began opening up, as part of the convergence, Lester informed the Minister about Philip's plans, though the Minister was more concerned about the creatures roaming the streets. When he told Matt, he told him to do whatever it took to stop Philip. When Jess was becoming overwhelmed by the situation, he offered her kind words of encouragement, and helped in organising the field teams. When another anomaly opened in the ARC's car park, Lester was horrified as his new Jaguar XK was down there. Saying it was now personal, he took an EMD with him, and attacked an Arboreal Raptor that was investigating it. After presumably sending it back, he went to the hub to learn that all of the anomalies were closing, and he wondered if that was a good thing.
Lester and Jess were trying to make sense of the situation and contact the others. After an EM surge caused by Philip's anomaly caused the power to go off in the ARC, Lester was amazed that they still had mobile reception when they received a call from Becker, and ordered him to get to New Dawn. When Jess told Lester she had no new news, Lester doubted it was the end of the world. As Lester decided to get them some whisky, Jess noticed that there were Mutated Future Predators in the ARC's hub, having come through Connor's reopened anomaly. Lester told her not to make any noise, and they made their way to the armoury to seek out EMDs. However he accidentally dropped a case and drew the Predators to them with the noise. They survived the attack, although Lester was badly wounded.
When the rest of the team arrived, they left Lester in the medical bay until he could receive proper help and the Predators were killed. Later, after the team had successfully closed Philip's anomaly, Lester was seen to by medics and was reduced to the use of a cane. As the team was contemplating the possibility of there being no more anomalies, Lester received a call from the Prime Minister, and told the team that a train had disappeared at Kings Cross station and sent the team to investigate. As everyone got ready, he lightly ordered Jess to get back to work.
At the Forest Heights Country Club Anomaly incursion, Claudia warned Cutter that Lester was getting impatient with answers about the Anomalies. Later, after a country club was blown up, Lester tried calling Claudia but she rejected his call, pretending she could not get to it in time and stated Lester would not be happy if he knew what had happened.
Jenny left the team at the British Museum so she could brief Lester at the ARC.
Lester was strict, professional, cold, arrogant and slightly insensitive. He believed that the government knew best and that government decisions about the public's protection came before the public's right to know, although over his time with the ARC he gradually evolved to become driven more by his conscience than his career or politics. Lester made little attempt to hide his dislike for others around him, and he normally expressed a sardonic and dry demeanor with a sarcastic wit. Lester's job with the Anomaly operation frequently caused him personal chagrin and frustration, which he vented through sarcastic comments; but despite his constant misfortune, underneath his sardonic claims to regret taking the path that brought his career to the Anomaly operation, Lester was actually highly loyal to his job with the operation and to his duties as its government administrator.
Initially, Lester regarded the civilian Anomaly research team as amateurs and was impatient with them about success and results, although he still mostly tolerated their lack of professionalism; but as the team proved over time to be much more adept at handling the Anomalies with minimum loss of civilian lives or their own lives than military forces, Lester came to semi-begrudgingly respect them as a "highly strung and temperamental team of rank amateurs who just happen to be brilliant at what they do."
Lester was also, during the earlier days of the Anomaly operation, very ruthless with the handling of the Anomaly project, and he apparently expected the other team members to handle and be devoted to it the same way whenever things went wrong on the team's watch; Lester was willing to allow an innocent witness to an Anomaly incursion to be wrongfully charged so that she couldn't spread news of what she'd seen among the public, and when Abby was believed dead after being taken by the Mer, Lester seemed furious more at Cutter's recklessness and the consequences of it than the loss itself, and had Cutter briefly fired as punishment. However, over his time with the ARC (particularly after Stephen and Cutter's deaths), Lester slowly began to soften up and develop a caring side for the team; being protective and even personally supportive of them when they were in even more danger than usual or really needed it, although he usually tried to hide it behind his sardonic, dry and slightly-berating exterior.
Though he was much more used to administration than being a part of the combat among the ARC, Lester could be very brave and composed in the face of danger when confronted with the creatures in person; he twice took on Future Predators loose in the ARC, and he once even personally went up against a Tree Creeper by himself with only an EMD when the creature was climbing on his new car.
Lester and Abby didn't interact much, although Lester gave Abby the same sarcasm he gave everyone else and was uninterested by her facts about or love for animals. As Lester grew to slowly care about the team, Abby was no exception, with Lester being slightly moved by her speech against Philip's plans for the Menagerie creatures into blackmailing him, although he was still reluctant to let it show.
Though Lester and Johnson were almost always very civil and professional in their face-to-face interactions, they had a mutually antagonistic relationship between them, which they both liked to show to each-other while holding their professional demeanours and by using lawful methods to outsmart, defeat, exasperate and humiliate each-other. Lester also recognised Johnson as very untrustworthy and up to no good when it came to the Anomalies, trying to keep the Artefact secret from her and being concerned over Johnson's secret Anomaly-related plans. Johnson and Lester's rivalry was such that when Helen held Johnson hostage, Lester jokingly pretended, to Johnson's irk, to not care if she died. However, Lester still did not truly hate Christine enough to actually allow Helen to kill her, as when he saw how serious Helen was being about threatening Johnson's life, he reluctantly gave Helen what she wanted.
Lester was highly unimpressed with Connor's goofy antics and scruffy habits, taking him for an "idiot" upon first seeing him in the field in the Anomaly project. He also, sometimes correctly, expected Connor's goof to result in foolishness and/or big mess-ups, and apparently didn't consider Connor a suitable or competent member of the operation. However, Connor did still grow on Lester over time; Lester reluctantly let Connor stay at his flat when he had nowhere to live (although this proved to be a constant source of grief for Lester due to Sid and Nancy wrecking all his important things, driving him to put 'Do not touch' labels on the majority of his flat), and Lester partially missed Connor when he was marooned in the Cretaceous.
Lester was frequently gobstruck, bewildered, caught off-guard and slightly irked by Danny's extremely impulsive and maverick behaviour and methods, finding him unbelievable at times but still competent and successful as a team leader. Lester initially was unimpressed and thought of Danny as a wild, immature rogue when they'd first met, but his opinion of him turned around after how he'd performed fighting the Future Fungus, thinking Danny worthy to be the team's new leader. However Lester was not surprised when Danny made a complete "dog's breakfast" of being team leader when Christine came to arrest the former policeman.
When the team first learned that Helen was alive, Lester wanted to use her due to her more-advanced understanding of the Anomalies, and was willing to both bring her in by force and threaten to torture her when she was uncooperative. Lester also didn't trust her at all due to her scheming and secretive nature, and ultimately proved right to do so. After the team learned throughout Helen's plans with Leek and her crusade to destroy the ARC just how powerful, capable and dangerous an enemy she really was, Lester came to recognise her as "insane" but also a very great threat. He would later describe her as a "nasty woman," and was very glad to learn that she had died during Danny's absence.
Lester and Jenny seemed to relate with each-other during their work at the ARC, having moderately similar professional stances on their jobs and on the handling of the Anomaly crisis. Lester also believed in and trusted Jenny enough to put her in temporary command over the field team after Cutter's death. Lester apparently did grow to care about Jenny when she was in serious life-threatening danger, as he was visibly unsettled and concerned when Jenny was almost frozen to death during the Future Fungus incursion.
Lester and Jess frequently interacted due to Jess's role in coordination and technology at the ARC, and had a rather light relationship. Lester sometimes depended on Jess's technical coordination and IT skills for help, and often tried to exploit it for mundane and personal gain, to Jess's chagrin. Jess in turn was unthreatened by Lester, treating him as harmless and sarcastically chiding him when he asked her to use her IT skills for things that were "not in [her] job description."
Lester didn't interact much with Matt, although he was apparently frustrated with Matt's secrecy and lack of peer bonding with the team after a year at the ARC. When Matt's true identity and his mission was revealed, Lester was initially skeptical, but accepted it as the truth. During and following the ARC's effort to stop New Dawn from dooming the world, Lester showed that he actually had a great respect for and faith in Matt, being confident and faithful that Matt would do whatever he had to and stop New Dawn.
Cutter and Lester had a clear and strong dislike for each-other, with Lester commenting that he disliked Cutter's maverick behaviour, and wanting to be anything but sentimental when Cutter was seemingly lost and marooned in the Silurian. Lester was also willing to put the public's protection before Cutter's life when the latter was held hostage by Leek, although this was completely non-personal and due to the threat Leek and his creatures posed to the public. Despite his loathing for Cutter, Lester later developed a begrudging respect for Cutter's reckless, maverick and brave methods and success as the team leader. After Cutter was murdered by Helen, though not heavily affected like everyone else, Lester did still seem slightly shaken up by it.
Throughout Leek's employment under Lester as his right-hand man, Lester barely noticed or acknowledged Leek and all his attempts to impress him, and Leek was regularly the target of chiding and berating from Lester for being the one to say things Lester found foolish or ridiculous. After Leek was outed as the enemy traitor in the ARC, Lester developed a highly personal animosity towards Leek and became set on seeing Leek tracked down and defeated. When Leek was brutally killed over a live visual feed by his own Future Predators, Lester just calmly watched his traitorous right-hand's brutal demise.
Philip and Lester's interactions at the ARC seemed to be mostly professional and non-personal, although Philip apparently liked giving Lester advice on how to run the ARC. Lester in turn seemed to distrust Philip, and was unafraid to work behind Philip's back several times for the team's sake. After the team learned the truth about Philip's alliance with Helen and New Dawn's apocalyptic effects, Lester became fully distrustful of Philip and actively worked against him as the enemy who would end the world if he wasn't stopped.
- Episode 1.1 (first appearance)
- Episode 1.2
- Episode 1.3
- Episode 1.4
- Episode 1.5 (mentioned)
- Episode 1.6
- Episode 2.1
- Episode 2.2
- Episode 2.3 (mentioned)
- Shadow of the Jaguar
- The Lost Island
- Episode 2.4
- Episode 2.5
- Episode 2.6
- Episode 2.7
- Extinction Event
- Episode 3.1
- Episode 3.3
- Episode 3.4
- Episode 3.5
- Fire and Water
- Episode 3.6
- Episode 3.8
- Episode 3.9
- Webisode 1
- Webisode 2 (mentioned)
- Webisode 4
- Webisode 5
- Episode 4.1
- Episode 4.2
- Episode 4.4
- Episode 4.5
- Episode 4.6
- Episode 4.7
- Episode 5.1
- Episode 5.2
- Episode 5.5
- Episode 5.6 (latest appearance)
- Lester is one of the four Primeval characters to appear in every series from 1 to 5, the others being Abby Maitland, Connor Temple and Rex. However he has not appeared in every single episode (being absent in 1.5, 2.3, 3.2, 3.7, 3.10, 4.3, 5.3 and 5.4).
- Early magazines about Primeval, indicated that either Lester's first or last name was going to be "Leicester".
- One ITV website profile of Oliver Leek says that he buys his suits from the same tailor as Lester.
- Lester is seen wearing a suit in every episode he is in. Also he wears the same style suit in Series 3, 4 and 5. This makes him the character with the same costume style for the longest time.
- It was revealed in Episode 5.1 that though Lester had hoped to get a knighthood, he never had; but in the Series 1 credits, he was listed as Sir James Lester. Some fans have suggested that the reason for this continuity inconsistency is that Lester did indeed have a knighthood in the original timeline, but this was negated by the timeline change at the end of Episode 1.6.
|Nick Cutter • Stephen Hart • Connor Temple • Abby Maitland • Claudia Brown • Helen Cutter • James Lester • Tom Ryan|
|Nick Cutter • Stephen Hart • Connor Temple • Abby Maitland • Jenny Lewis • James Lester • Helen Cutter • Oliver Leek • Caroline Steel • The Cleaner|
|Nick Cutter • Stephen Hart • Connor Temple • Abby Maitland • Jenny Lewis • James Lester • Helen Cutter • Jake Hemple • Danny Quinn • Hilary Becker • Sarah Page|
|Nick Cutter • Connor Temple • Abby Maitland • Jenny Lewis • Helen Cutter • James Lester • Hilary Becker • Sarah Page • Danny Quinn • Christine Johnson • Joseph Wilder|
|You • Helen Cutter • James Lester • Connor Temple • Abby Maitland • Sarah Page • Jenny Lewis • Danny Quinn|
|Matt Anderson • Hilary Becker • James Lester • Jess Parker • Gideon|
|Matt Anderson • Connor Temple • Abby Maitland • James Lester • Hilary Becker • Jess Parker • Emily Merchant • Ethan Dobrowski • Philip Burton • Gideon|
|Matt Anderson • Connor Temple • Abby Maitland • Hilary Becker • Jess Parker • James Lester • |
Philip Burton • Emily Merchant • April Leonard