Peter Firth

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Peter Firth
Firth at the 2009 BAFTA Awards ceremony, with fellow Spooks cast member, Miranda Raison.
Born(1953-10-27) 27 October 1953 (age 61)
Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire, England, UK.
Years active1969–present
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For the Bishop of Malmesbury, see Peter Firth (bishop).
Peter Firth
Firth at the 2009 BAFTA Awards ceremony, with fellow Spooks cast member, Miranda Raison.
Born(1953-10-27) 27 October 1953 (age 61)
Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire, England, UK.
Years active1969–present

Peter Firth (born 27 October 1953) is an English actor. He is best known for his role as Sir Harry Pearce in the BBC One show Spooks, in which he is the only actor to have starred in every episode of the show's ten-series lifespan. He is also known for playing a variety of starring roles in film and on television from the 1970s to present day.[1]

Early career[edit]

Firth was born in Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire, England, the son of publicans Mavis (née Hudson) and Eric Macintosh Firth, who also had a daughter (Shiela). [2]

Firth was a leading child actor by mid-1970, starring in The Flaxton Boys as Archie Weekes and the Here Come the Double Deckers series, which featured child actors in the leading roles. Firth played Scooper, the leader of the gang.

In July 1973, he appeared at Laurence Olivier's National Theatre,[3] 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.

His first major role as an adult was in the title role in a BBC Television Play of the Month adaptation of Oscar Wilde's novel The Picture of Dorian Gray (1976). The adaptation 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 unsuccessful film adaptation of Henry Fielding's Joseph Andrews (1977). That same year, he starred in the film adaptation of Equus, with Richard Burton. 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).

In May 1981, he appeared on Broadway again in Peter Shaffer's Amadeus as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart replacing Tim Curry. Shaffer had offered him the role in the original London production, but he was unavailable due to film commitments.


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 (1986), playing Henry Tilney; The Hunt for Red October (1990); White Angel (1993), playing mild mannered dentist Leslie Steckler; Amistad (1997); Pearl Harbor (2001); and The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005), playing Lord Northcliffe).[1]


In parallel to 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). In 1994, in the Fourth Season 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 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 (TV network).


Firth is also a narrator of audio books. 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.

Personal life[edit]

Firth has been married twice and has four children; Rory Firth, from his first marriage, Amy, Alex and James Firth from his second. 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.[4]


1972Brother Sun, Sister Moon
1972Daniel and Maria
1973Diamonds on WheelsRobert 'Bobby' StewartTV Movie
1975King Arthur, the Young WarlordCorin
1976Aces HighLt Stephen Croft
1976Lady of Camellias, TheThe Lady of CamelliasArmand
1977Joseph AndrewsJoseph Andrews
1977EquusAlan Strang
1979When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder?Stephen Ryder
1979TessAngel Clare
1982Fire and SwordDinas
1984Sword of the Valiant: The Legend of Sir Gawain and the Green KnightSir GawainVoice; Uncredited
1984White ElephantPeter Davidson
1985LifeforceCol Colin Caine
1985Letter to BrezhnevPeter
1986State of Emergency, AA State of EmergencyDr Kenneth Parrish
1987Born of FirePaul Bergson
1988Prisoner of RioClive Ingram
1989Tree of HandsTerence
1989Trouble in ParadiseAdriaan
1990Blood Royal: William the ConquerorWilliam RufusTV movie
1990Hunt for Red October, TheThe Hunt for Red OctoberIvan Putin
1990Incident, TheThe IncidentGeigerTV movie
1990BurndownJake Stern
1990Rescuers Down Under, TheThe Rescuers Down UnderRedVoice
1991Prisoner of HonorMaj Henry
1992Pleasure Principle, TheThe Pleasure PrincipleDick
1993El marido perfectoFranz
1993ShadowlandsDr Craig
1994White AngelLeslie Steckler
1995An Awfully Big AdventureBunny
1996Merisairas1st Officer Ronald Jensen
1997Garden of Redemption, TheThe Garden of RedemptionNazi CommandantTV movie
1997Marco Polo: The Missing ChapterRusticello
1997Gaston's WarMajor Smith
1997AmistadCaptain Fitzgerald
1998Mighty Joe YoungGarth
1999Chill FactorColonel Andrew Brynner
2000Magicians, TheThe MagiciansSimon MagusTV movie
2001Pearl HarborCapt. Mervyn Bennion
2002 - 2011SpooksHarry Pearce
2005Greatest Game Ever Played, TheThe Greatest Game Ever PlayedLord Northcliffe
2006Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an EmpireVespasian
2010World Without EndSir Roland
2013MaydayMalcolm Spicer
2014Undeniable (UK TV mini-Series)Andrew Bolton
2014Spooks: The Greater GoodHarry PearceFilming


  1. ^ a b Peter Firth at the Internet Movie Database
  2. ^ "Peter Firth Biography (1953–)". Film Reference Library. Retrieved 2012-01-27. 
  3. ^ "National Theatre: 1970s". Rob Wilton Theatricalia. Retrieved 2012-01-27. 
  4. ^ "Honorary graduations at the University of Bradford". University of Bradford. Retrieved 17 July 2009. 

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