Peter Firth

Peter Firth


10/27/1953, Bradford Yorkshire England, UK

Birth Name


  • Councillor Snaith (Peter Firth) in South...
  • Harry Pearce (Peter Firth) talking to Be...
  • Ruth Evershed (Nicola Walker) and Harry ...
  • Peter Firth as Harry Pearce on Spooks
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Born in Pudsey, near Bradford in 1953, his parents ran a pub and he attended a local grammar school. He has one sister. As a youth, he took weekend classes at the Bradford Playhouse near his Pudsey home and he left school at the age of 16 to…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • On July 2009, the University of Bradford, England, awarded Peter with the Honorary Graduate Degree for his work as an actor.

    • When Peter appeared on Top Gear in June 2008, he revealed he once left a Mercedes 300 CE Coupe (1966) in a St. John's Wood car park for two years while he was in the US. He now drives a Maseratti.

    • Other than Equus, Peter also starred in another Peter Shaffer play: Amadeus. But this time when it went to Hollywood, he did not recreate the role. It went instead to Tom Hulce.

    • Peter has recorded the audio version of Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles on CD, a story he also appeared in on film.

    • Peter Shaffer did not revive his play Equus until 2007 because he believed Peter's 1973 performance could not be bettered.

    • Awards

      Academy Awards
      Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Equus (1978) (Nomination)

      Evening Standard British Film Awards
      Most Promising Newcomer - Actor for Equus (1977) (Won)

      Golden Globes
      Best Supporting Actor for Equus (1977) (Won)

      Tony Awards
      Best Actor (Dramatic) for Equus (1975) (Nomination)

      Action and Adventure Winner, for White Angel in the Best Actor category (1993).

    • Peter's first major (title) role as an adult was in the title role in a 1976 BBC Television Play of the Month adaptation of Oscar Wilde's novel The Picture of Dorian Gray.

    • Peter is very good friends with his Equus (1977) co-star Jenny Agutter, who also starred with him in Spooks (aka in the US as MI-5 (2002).

    • In July 1973, Peter received his big break by winning the leading role of disturbed adolescent Alan Strang in Peter Shaffer's play Equus, which was performed by the National Theatre at the Old Vic in London. He also recreated this notable part in the film version of Equus.

    • Peter admits that he initially became interested in acting because he liked this girl who was apart of a local theatre group, he joined to impress her.

    • Peter made his film debut at the age of 18 in Franco Zeffirelli's Fratello sole, sorella luna (1972).

    • Peter was a child actor on British television, who began his career in 1968, and is most famous in the UK for his part in children's show DoubleDeckers.

    • Peter is approximately 5' 9" (1.75 m) tall, with brown eyes.

    • Peter played Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in the Broadway production of Peter Shaffer's Amadeus in 1981, with Sir Ian McKellen as Salieri.

    • Peter was listed as one of twelve "Promising New Actors of 1977" in John Willis' Screen World, Vol. 29. [1977].

  • Quotes

    • (on Spooks)
      Peter: This show is not a documentary about the Security Services, it is entertainment so we have license to make it look as we imagine it might look.

    • (Talking about his character in "Spooks")
      Peter: Harry is a fun character to play. We don't have a lot of back story or character analysis in Spooks, it is plot driven and, as such, the story is really the important thing. I know a lot about Harry that the audience probably don't know. I like to try and give them a glimpse of that, even though it is not provided by the script.

    • (on the show "Spooks")
      Peter: There's no security in show business anyway and certainly no security in Spooks because you may not make it to the end of the episode. The first thing all the actors do is check the script, see if you make it to the end... you never know. It's a very good negotiating tool for the producers. (Laughs)

    • (on the show "Spooks")
      Peter: Another strength is that we kill our heroes and no other television show does that.

    • (commenting wryly on "Spooks" on Breakfast TV)
      Peter: The plot does take second place to flair and style.

    • (commenting on the US reaction to "Spooks" in November 2007, with particular reference to Series 6)
      Peter: The series did very well there for the first four years and now they've stopped showing it because we've taken too much of an anti-American stand in the stories. Americans don't like that. They'll take it from themselves. In West Wing they criticise their foreign policy. But I don't think they'll take it from foreigners. Certainly not from the British. And if they were to see this series, they'd be absolutely horrified, because it does have quite a strident opinion about American foreign policy.

    • (on the Dominick Hyde plays he starred in during the early 80s)
      Peter: Reaction to that has never gone away. It was fantastically insightful. I spoke to the writer recently and he's just sold the idea to a Hollywood film company and they're going to make a modern version of it.

    • (on why he keeps going in "Spooks" as Harry Pearce)
      Peter: Why am I still here? A combination of resilience, dedication and also the need to give some consistency to the storyline.

    • (on watching Daniel Radcliffe perform on stage in "Equus", a role he played both on stage and screen)
      Peter: I went on the first night and sat in the third row. Not through choice, I was very kindly invited. So it was a bit of a flashback. It was a little strange watching it, because it was a big part of my life. I knew most of the lines, which was amazing. It's burned in there.

    • (on wanting to do more stunts on "Spooks")
      Peter: I'm a bit jealous that I can't leap around like the younger members of the cast. I asked for more stunts so they gave me a scene in which a car screeches to a halt and I jumped out and ruptured my calf muscle. So that was the last of my stunts - and my self-respect!

    • (on the appeal of Harry Pearce in "Spooks")
      PeterThere's a hard core out there of middle-aged ladies who would take tea with him. There's something for everyone in Spooks.

    • (on the show "Spooks")
      Peter: The beauty of Spooks is that you never know what – or who – is round the corner. As soon as the scripts arrive I check to see if I've made it to the end! I've seen characters come and go.