James Fraser is 25 when he arrives in Summer Bay. He is Lachie's brother, and very much like him. James has just become a fully fledged doctor, and is looking to go into private practice with an older doctor. His mother is pushing him to specialise, but James feels he'd be happier just being a GP. Because he wants to stay in Summer Bay and be near Chloe and Olivia, he eventually takes a position at the local hospital.

Easygoing and likable despite his upper-class upbringing, James has the same problems with his mother that Lachie had. Particularly now that Lachie is out of the running, Diana is zeroing in on James to fulfil her hopes of having a son with a brilliant medical career. But James is much more likely than Lachie was to stand up to his mother. He won't tolerate her interference the way Lachie did. In fact, Diana has almost given up trying to mould James and now sets her sights on her grand daughter, Olivia.

James hasn't Lachie's brilliance, and he is aware of it. He is not overly ambitious and would be satisfied with a simpler life, wanting to settle down, marry and have kids. When he meets Chloe, he first admires her resilience and character, and is touched by her obvious love for Lachie and her daughter Olivia. James is a highly principled young man, and — knowing that Chloe is his brother's girl — he tries to fight his growing feelings for her, but is soon very much in love with her.

When James finally told Chloe how he felt, she rejected him. James swallowed his pride and gave Chloe a ticket to the USA so she could go and see Lachie and try to make things work between them. But Lachie had found another woman, so Chloe returned to Summer Bay, heartbroken – but feeling a little more warmly towards James.

The pair started spending a lot of time together. Not enough time, as far as James was concerned – he was more in love with Chloe than ever before, but feared that she's not quite as keen. When Olivia has to undergo emergency surgery, James is there for Chloe every step of the way. And when Joey's behaviour made Chloe worry for Olivia's safety, James offered her his spare room. He showed Chloe he cares about her every way he could – and, finally, took the plunge and asked her to marry him.

Chloe wasn't keen at first, but eventually realised that, even though she would always love Lachie, James would be a very good husband and father. So Chloe and James were married, although it almost didn't happen – James had found a photo of Lachie in Chloe's locket and stopped the wedding ceremony because of his concerns that she still loved Lachie. Chloe reassured him and they went on with the ceremony, but James probably should have stood his ground…

Even though he loved Olivia very much, James was keen on having children of his own. Secretly Chloe didn't want to have children so quickly, but she pretended to go along with it – until James found out that she was still using contraception, and he asked her to leave the house. After much soul-searching, James admitted to himself that he would always come second to Lachie – and he couldn't deal with that. Chloe's grief after Lachie's sudden death just cemented James's conviction.

James threw himself into work at the hospital. When Chloe left Summer Bay to start a new life in the city, he soldiered on. He even rented out rooms in his house, to Adam (Mat Stevenson) and Shauna (Kylie Watson). Adam didn't stay, so Harry (Justin Melvey) moved in. There's a spark between James and Shauna, but the interest seems to be all on Shauna's side. James may not be ready for another romance for a while…