Friday, May 9, 1997
Transcribed from video and audiotape.
Peter Wingfield arrived late due to the gridlock that trapped
his limousine on the Baltimore beltway for more than two hours.
He entered the room running up to the front table, literally dressing
as he went. When he sat down, he was still rolling up the cuffs
of his shirt and tucking everything in, smiling the whole time.
Because he had come straight from the airport and hadn't had dinner
yet, the con organizers announced that the talk was going to finish
earlier than planned...
Q: How does it feel to play a good guy? (photo by Dianne Smith)
Peter: Do you know, I never thought of Methos as being a nice guy!
[laughter and applause] I love playing Methos. It is a thrill, it's
a joy, it's exciting, it's fun. The great thing about playing Methos
is that all of the stuff that is [?], and all of the scenes that
I've done, all of the stuff that I've read, all of the stuff that's
been actually declared as fact, none of it allows you to be really
sure if he's a real good guy or a devious, manipulating son of a
bitch. It's still possible to read all the stuff that he's done
as being a ploy, as being some way of getting other people into
a position where he can control them. It's possible. And until they
[?], it could go one way or another. I think it will continue to
be exciting. It will never I mean, I wouldn't turn my back
Can you speak Welsh?
I grew up in Cardiff it was, I think until I was
17. And I learned Welsh in school for two years. But that's a long
time ago! [giggle] [I was] in my third form. I had to be 12, 13
when I stopped learning it. The only thing I can remember is twill
din bob sias [giggle] which uh Does anyone speak Welsh
here? Any English people here? Um, I'm afraid I've just insulted
your ancestors. [giggle]
[Twill din bob sias means "arseholes to the English"!]
Do you consider yourself a sex symbol? (photo by Dianne Smith)
Absolutely not, come on! Hey, I'm English we don't have
sex symbols. I'm English we don't have sex!
Last year you seemed baffled by the fan scene. Are you having
Am I having fun now? [grin] Yes. Yes, yes, yes. The answer is
yes, oh yes [in the same tone as "Comes a Horseman" car scene].
Conventions what's it? Denver, the year before last, was
my first one. Boy, I didn't know what was going on. This year's
been busy. I've gone to Glasgow. I went [?] before Christmas. I
just came from Seattle a couple of weeks back yeah, Seattle!
Woo! [punches air with fist] Yeah, I'm enjoying it now. I'm having
a great time. This one, I really didn't think I was going to make
[but] because I had a day off today, I hopped on a plane, and here
What was your reaction when you read the "Comes a Horseman" script?
Did you realize running the London Marathon was just training for
"Comes a Horseman" I first had any kind of notice of it
scriptwise when we were in Vancouver, from one of the props guys.
They get the script a bit earlier than us. He said, "Have you read
the script?" I said no. He said, "You are the baddest of all bad
guys!" I read the script, and it was a fantastic role because there's
always been a danger, I think, if Methos just becomes MacLeod's
sidekick. I think that's a danger for any semi-regular character
they just start repeating the same stories. So that was like
a gift from heaven. And filming it was such fun because being a
nice guy is much harder to play than being a bad guy. If you're
going to be evil, then it pushes the barriers you do much
more stuff. And you don't have to worry what anyone thinks about
And did I realize the London Marathon was training for this? No,
I didn't. I'm in good shape for it!
What's with this double quickening in "Revelations 6:8"? There's
been a lot of talk about the meaning of that final quickening, that
it implies a new and different connection between Duncan and Methos.
(photo by Dianne Smith)
What's with this spiral quickening? Do you know when we were filming
that [I said], "Oh no! [giggle] People will talk!" I was very aware
of how incredibly homoerotic that was. People were saying people
might read in double meanings to it but I can't think what
the other one is! On a practical basis, what it was like was really
tiring and quite scary because there's all these massive explosions
going off in our faces when we're filming it. And it was filmed
in a World War II submarine base. I thought we'd just set off some
charges that were left there for 50 years. I was terrified.
Is Simon Pemberton coming back to The Archers?
My guess is that he probably will, but not with me playing him.
That would be my guess. You see I can talk about him now
it's not even broadcast over here.
The original idea for this [?] recording The Archers. They
wanted to kill him off, but they wanted to kill him off in a really
spectacular way that people would talk about for years. [And that
was what the producer said.] On my last week of recording, I got
the script for the final episode, I looked at it and he's
not dead! I was outraged! Everyone else in The Archers has
the opposite experience. They get the script, and they look through,
and they get to the final [part and say], "Oh dear, I've just been
killed." But I knew I was going to die and I didn't. And
my assumption is that what they'll do is leave it about a year so
people will forget my voice a bit and then recast him.... They said
they're writing stories about him.
Do you want a spoiler? He's going to come back into the country
and be arrested at the airport. And there's going to be a court
case. He's going down; he's going to jail. You heard it first in
How do you feel about unofficial fan clubs?
They are unofficial so I have no business with them by definition.
Well, there's an unofficial fan club that's not for you; it's
I'll tell him when I see him.
And we've got a t-shirt for you. [Fan runs up on stage and displays
it.] This is our motto.
[Reading shirt] "The Methos Harem... Live, love, learn, share and
survive." Thank you. [Fan skips off the stage. Peter stares after
her.] Well, she's skippy, isn't she?
If you could act in any play with any actor, what would it be?
I would very much like to do a Sam Sheppard play called The
Tooth of Crime, which I did many years ago when I was in university.
I would like to do that again playing Hoss there's a fantastic
part for a kind of anarchist rock-n-roll star. There are lots of
actors I'd like to work with. James Woods. Yeah, let's do that with
Oliver Stone directing.
How does it fell for Methos to have 69 wives? [Audience shouts,
Sixty-nine including Duncan! Sixty-eight? Sixty-nine? I
have the same problem they all blend into one. The question
is: What does it feel like?!? They didn't film that episode. I think
the producers will gradually spin that off into a series.
Have you see much of America especially Maryland
besides our traffic?
I've seen quite a bit of it actually lots of people waving...
How is it sword fighting with Adrian Paul? How much of it is "free"
None of it is. It's too scary even when it's choreographed, because
often we only get a couple of hours rehearsing. We then try and
film it under the pressure of having to get a whole day's work crammed
in. This is just a little bit of it.
So you get [a bit of instruction then] you're actually filming.
Quite often, you're also talking about filming outside, in darkness,
with incredibly bright lights shining in your eyes. So there is
absolutely no intention to improvise. [If] you'd try, you'd simply
There are instances when, particularly Adrian, does his own scripted
bits of fighting. In the penultimate episode this season ["The Modern
Prometheus"], I don't think this is common knowledge, but he has
to fight it out where in the final blow, the bad guy spins round
and he does a head cut which Adrian blocked with his eye.
It wasn't exactly how it was intended.
[The con organizers announced that the talk was going to be cut
short to fit in an autograph session. Peter echoed them....] (photo
by Sharon L)
It has to be a quickie tonight. [Peter breaks up laughing when
he realizes how that sounds.] And that's the first time I ever said
Do you want Methos to be a good guy or a bad guy?
I like the bad guy stuff 'cause it then sets up conflict with Duncan,
and it sets up a whole bunch of stuff that then has to be resolved;
it can't just go away and be forgotten about. The more we dig up
in his past that was specifically evil, the more you have to deal
with that as an issue that's interesting. Being noble and
heroic is an end point.
And having said that, I loved doing the stuff about Alexa, that
whole storyline. What I like best is doing something different in
the next episode than I did in the one before. Having done the love
story thing, [I now want] to chop some head off.
How long does it take you to memorize a script?
It varies how long we get to memorize it. There have been occasions
where we've been given rewrites for scenes actually after we've
filmed them.... It's quite common to get rewrites for scenes in
the morning for stuff that we're doing that day, so we'd get maybe
an hour or two. I [giggle] I tend not to learn my lines,
so that's kind of a tricky one to answer. The scripts, we usually
get a week or so before we film, so there is a week to learn the
lines, but I tend to arrive with an idea of what I'm supposed to
be talking about, but maybe not the exact words. And that's usually
how it ends up on film.
I read that you never rode before "Comes a Horseman" and that
you tried to make friends with the horse, but they changed the horse.
Well, I had the theory, because I had never ridden before, that
the horse is gonna know that I've never ridden before. So my best
bet was just be friendly to it, and it would like me enough [not
to throw me]. This is my theory. So I petted it a lot and whispered
in its ear
I bet he liked it!
That happens in the flashbacks there was this beautiful
white horse but then for the contemporary stuff in "Revelation"
at the start, it can't be the same horse unless it's an immortal
horse. So a completely new horse, but I just thought the same thing
just be nice to the horse, and it'll be nice to you.
I'd like to make a presentation to you. It's something from my
hometown. You can't get it in England. [Fan hands Peter a package.]
(photo by Sharon L)
What is it?
Maaarshmallow peeps? What [the hell are these, Peter's expression
seems to say]? Do you toast these over a fire?
[The organizers announced it was time for the autograph session.]