Peter Macintosh Firth
27 October 1953
Peter Macintosh Firth (born 27 October 1953) is an English actor. He is best known for his role as Sir Harry Pearce in the BBC One programme Spooks; he is the only actor to have appeared in every episode of the programme's ten-series lifespan. He has given many other television and film performances, most notably as Alan Strang in Equus (1977), earning both a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination for the role.
Firth was born in Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire, England, the son of publicans Mavis (née Hudson) and Eric Macintosh Firth. He attended Hanson School in Bradford.
Firth was a leading child actor by the middle of 1969, having starred in the first series of The Flaxton Boys as Archie Weekes and then the following year in the series Here Come the Double Deckers, both of which featured child actors in the leading roles. Firth played Scooper, the leader of the gang. In 1972 he also starred in the ITV (London Weekend Television) series The Adventures of Black Beauty, episode "The Runaway", playing David Abbott.
In July 1973, Firth appeared at Laurence Olivier's National Theatre, starring in the stage version of Peter Shaffer's play Equus as a teenager being treated by a psychiatrist, and in October 1974 repeated the role in the Broadway production, receiving a Tony Award nomination for his performance as Alan Strang.
Firth starred in an episode of The Protectors, titled “Implicado”, first screened in November 1973. He played Stephen Douglas, an innocent young man, alongside Patrick Mower as a drug dealer.
Firth's first major role as an adult was the title part in a BBC Television Play of the Month adaptation of Oscar Wilde's novel The Picture of Dorian Gray (1976). The script was based on a stage adaptation by John Osborne, and also starred Jeremy Brett and John Gielgud. That same year saw the release of the World War I film Aces High which featured Firth as the inexperienced RFC pilot Lt. Stephen Croft.
Firth played the lead role in the film adaptation of Henry Fielding's Joseph Andrews (1977). That same year he starred with Richard Burton in the film adaptation of Equus. The film was only a moderate box-office success, but earned Firth a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and a Golden Globe Award in the same category. Further film work quickly followed, most notably Roman Polanski's Tess (1979).
Other film work has included roles in Diamonds on Wheels (1973); When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder? (1979); Lifeforce (1985); Letter to Brezhnev (1985); Northanger Abbey (1987), playing Henry Tilney; The Hunt for Red October (1990) playing the Soviet political officer Ivan Putin murdered early in the film; White Angel (1993), playing mild-mannered dentist Leslie Steckler; Amistad (1997) playing the strongly anti-slavery Captain Fitzgerald of the Royal Navy; Mighty Joe Young (1998); Pearl Harbor (2001); and The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005), playing Lord Northcliffe.
Along with his film career, Firth has continued to appear in various television productions, with several notable credits in various high-profile dramas. He starred in two science-fiction episodes of the BBC's Play for Today anthology series as the eponymous time-traveller in the romantic The Flipside of Dominick Hide (1980), and its sequel, Another Flip for Dominick (1982). Firth also had a starring role in Tales Of The Unexpected in 1981. In 1994, in the Fourth Series of Heartbeat, he played Dr. Radcliffe who partnered with Dr. Rowan (Niamh Cusack) in Whitby. He also portrayed the Emperor Vespasian in "The Jewish Revolt" episode of the BBC series Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire.
For many years he had played a primary role as senior MI5 officer Harry Pearce in the BBC's popular spy drama series Spooks (2002–2011), and played Fred Hoyle in Hawking, a BBC dramatisation of the early career of Stephen Hawking. He was also Snaith in the three-part series South Riding in 2011. Firth has also appeared on American and Canadian television, on programmes such as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Total Recall 2070, as well as in television films such as The Incident starring Walter Matthau.
In 2014, Firth played the part of the character Andrew Rawlins in Undeniable, a two-part series made for the ITV network. In 2015 he played Jacob Marley in four episodes of the BBC television series Dickensian.
In 2016, he played the part of Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland and King of Hanover in ITV's drama series Victoria. In 2018, he played Milos Borisovich, a Belarusian drug lord.
Firth is also a narrator of audiobooks. He has been responsible for performances reading Pat Barker's Regeneration, The Ghost Road and The Eye in the Door, Suspicion by Robert McCrum, Maurice by E. M. Forster, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, Sebastian Faulks' Birdsong and Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles.
On 17 July 2009, he was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Bradford as a Doctor of Letters for his services to acting, having been nominated by the School of Computing, Informatics & Media; he received his award during the school's degree ceremony.
Firth lodged with Peter Shaffer throughout the Broadway run of Equus, in a father-son relationship.
|1972||Brother Sun, Sister Moon|
|Daniel and Maria|
|1975||King Arthur, the Young Warlord||Corin|
|1976||Aces High||Lt Stephen Croft|
|1977||Joseph Andrews||Joseph Andrews|
|1979||When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder?||Stephen Ryder|
|1981||Fire and Sword||Dinas||Original title: "Feuer und Schwert - Die Legende von Tristan und Isolde"|
|1984||Sword of the Valiant: The Legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight||Sir Gawain||Voice: uncredited|
|White Elephant||Peter Davidson|
|1985||Lifeforce||Col Colin Caine|
|Letter to Brezhnev||Peter|
|1986||A State of Emergency||Kenneth Parrish|
|1987||Born of Fire||Paul Bergson||Science Fiction|
|1988||Prisoner of Rio||Clive Ingram|
|1989||Tree of Hands||Terence|
|Trouble in Paradise||Adriaan|
|1990||The Hunt for Red October||Senior Lieutenant Ivan Putin|
|The Rescuers Down Under||Red||Voice|
|1992||The Pleasure Principle||Dick|
|1993||El marido perfecto||Franz|
|1994||White Angel||Leslie Steckler|
|1995||An Awfully Big Adventure||Bunny|
|1996||Merisairas||1st Officer Ronald Jensen|
|1997||Marco Polo: The Missing Chapter||Rusticello|
|Gaston's War||Major Smith|
|Mighty Joe Young||Garth|
|1999||Chill Factor||Colonel Andrew Brynner|
|2001||Pearl Harbor||Capt. Mervyn Bennion|
|2005||The Greatest Game Ever Played||Lord Northcliffe|
|2010||World Without End||Sir Roland|
|2015||Spooks: The Greater Good||Harry Pearce|
|Happily Ever After||Walt|
|1969||How We Used to Live||Urchin||Episode: "At the Seaside"|
|The Flaxton Boys||Archie Weeks||13 episodes|
|1970-1971||Here Come the Double Deckers||Scooper||17 episodes|
|The Doctors||Charlie Higson||7 episodes|
|1972||The Magistrate||Cis Farringdon||BBC Play of the Month|
|The Adventures of Black Beauty||David Abbott||Episode: "Runaway"|
|1972-1973||Country Matters||Roger Blackburn/Tommy Adams||2 episodes|
|1973||Owen, M.D.||David Redman||Episode: "The Love Game"|
|Scene||Ben Bagot||Episode: "The Ballad of Ben Bagot"|
|The Protectors||Stephen Douglas||Episode: "Implicado"|
|Her Majesty's Pleasure||Arsenic||BBC1 Play for Today|
|Arthur of the Britons||Corin||Episode: "The Pupil"|
|Diamonds on Wheels||Robert 'Bobby' Stewart||TV film - Disney|
|1976||The Picture of Dorian Gray||Dorian Gray||BBC Play of the Month|
|The Lady of the Camellias||Armand Duval||2 episodes|
|1980||Tales of the Unexpected||Hardy||Episode: "The Man at the Top"|
|The Flipside of Dominick Hide||Dominick Hide||BBC1 Play for Today|
|1982||Another Flip for Dominick||Dominick Hide||BBC1 Play for Today|
|1983||The Aerodrome||Roy||TV film|
|1987||Tickets for the Titanic||Michael||Episode: "The Way, the Truth, the Video"|
|Northanger Abbey||Henry Tilney||BBC Screen Two|
|1990||The Incident||Geiger||TV film|
|Children Crossing||Joe||BBC Screen Two|
|Blood Royal: William the Conqueror||William Rufus||TV film|
|The Incident||Geiger||TV film|
|Murder in Eden||Kenneth Potter||BBC mini series|
|1991||The Laughter of God||Steve Clemant||BBC Screen Two|
|Prisoner of Honor||Maj Henry|
|1993||The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles||Stefan||Episode: "Istanbul, September 1918"|
|1994||Anna Lee||Peter Wainwright||Episode: "Stalker"|
|Highlander: The Series||Arthur Drake, aka Drakov||Episode: "Warmonger"|
|Heartbeat||Dr. James Radcliffe||7 episodes|
|1995||Resort to Murder||Peter Dennigan||TV mini series|
|Soldier Soldier||Major Ben Collins||Episode: "Leaving"|
|1996||The Witch's Daughter||Mr Jones||TV film|
|Band of Gold||Brian Roberts||4 episodes|
|And the Beat Goes On||Francis||4 episodes|
|1997||Holding On||Mick||TV mini series|
|The Broker's Man||Alex 'Godzilla' Turnbull||4 episodes|
|Kavanagh QC||Charlie Beck||Episode: "Ancient History"|
|The Garden of Redemption||Nazi Commandant||TV film|
|1998||Dead Man's Gun||Det. Insp. Archibald McCann||Episode: "The Ripper"|
|1999||The Magnificent Seven||Federal Marshal Walter Bryce||Episode: "The New Law"|
|Cracker||Mitchell Grady||Episode: "Best Boys"|
|Total Recall 2070||Vincent Nagle||3 episodes|
|2000||The Magicians||Simon Magus||TV film|
|2000-2001||That's Life||Victor Leski||20 episodes|
|2002||Me & Mrs Jones||Benedict||TV film|
|The Vice||Keith Beaumont||Episode: "No Man's Land"|
|2004||Hawking||Sir Fred Hoyle||TV film|
|2005||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Preston Blair||Episode: "Identity"|
|2006||Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire||Vespasian||TV mini series documentary|
|The Battle for Rome||Vespasian||TV mini series|
|2011||South Riding||Anthony Snaith||TV mini series|
|2012||World Without End||Sir Roland|
|Lives of the Infamous Comedy Blaps||Narrator||TV mini series|
|2015||Spooks: The Greater Good||Harry Pearce|
|2016||Victoria||Duke of Cumberland|
|2018||Strike Back||Milos Borisovich||TV series|
|Summer of Rockets||Tezler||TV series|
|2000||Star Wars: Force Commander||Capt. Beri Tulon||Real-time strategy video game|
|1996||After Hannibal||Barry Unsworth||Unabridged|
|1997||Brave New World||Aldous Huxley||Unabridged|
|2005||Tess of the d'Urbervilles||Thomas Hardy||Abridged||2 hrs and 49 mins|
|2008||Tess of the d'Urbervilles||Thomas Hardy||Unabridged||14 hrs and 42 mins|
|2009||Witness||Nick Warburton||Unabridged||One of four narrators|
|2010||Maurice||E. M. Forster||Unabridged|
|2015||Amok: An Audible Original Drama||Sebastian Fitzek||Unabridged||One of six narrators|
|2019||Regeneration||Pat Barker||Unabridged||Regeneration Trilogy - Book 1|
|2019||The Eye in the Door||Pat Barker||Unabridged||Regeneration Trilogy - Book 2|
|2019||The Ghost Road||Pat Barker||Unabridged||Regeneration Trilogy - Book 3|