"If you have an English accent, you must be the bad guy."
— Peter Wingfield in the Vancouver Province, 25 Sep 1998

Wingfield Dr Helm

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"No cold shoulder for ex-Highlander star"
by Jonathan McDonald
Vancouver Province
25 August 1998

Smouldering. Sensual. Sexy. Sssssssmokin'.

Four words you'd expect to find but won't on the Peter Wingfield Fan Club website, a paean to the British actor who obviously caused hearts to go aflutter for three seasons on the Vancouver-shot Highlander: The Series.

"He's leaning on his arms, over a fence, with his head down so you can just see his eyes," reads the caption to a photo on the 1999 Wingfield calendar. "Very dreamy image."

"Ewwwww," says Wingfield, wincing when the description is read aloud.

But Wingfield, a 36-year-old who dropped out of med school at Oxford to pursue acting, is used to the attention that has come his way since he first played the 5,000-year-old immortal Methos back in 1995. And now that he's joined Cold Squad as the cool, combative, charismatic Insp. Simon Ross, Highlander's fanatical following isn't far behind.

Ross the boss

Peter Wingfield stars with Julie Stewart in Cold Squad:
"I always play bad guys."

"The most bizarre thing is that I get fan mail at Cold Squad," says Wingfield. "For the producers and the people involved in the show, it must be kind of strange. The show hasn't even aired yet. I haven't even appeared yet. I got this huge stack of birthday mail and presents earlier this month and people ringing up and asking if they can come out and visit the set.

"I mean, who is this guy? It's not like I'm a household name."

Depends on whose household you're talking about. Wingfield has seen people wearing his face on T-shirts in Australia, or barely being able to control themselves at a convention in Denver back in his rookie Highlander season.

"At that time, I'd only done three episodes. It seemed weird that I was being invited," says Wingfield, who now calls Vancouver home but won't talk about his family life.

"There were 2,000 people in the room. It was like being a rock star. People were screaming, almost hysterical with the excitement of being in the same room as you. That's not normal — particularly from a British perspective, where we're usually so reserved. That outpouring of emotion is really shocking."

Don't get Wingfield wrong. He likes the attention and the affection. Highlander's fans, he says, are an intelligent, well-spoken, respectful bunch.

But he was ready to tackle a new character. And Ross, who spars with Cold Squad's Ali McCormick (Julie Stewart) and Tony Logozzo (Michael Hogan) in tonight's opener, makes for a puzzling, intriguing boss.

"You don't know where he stands," says Wingfield, who lists Ally McBeal and The Simpsons as his favourite shows.

"You have this sense that he has an agenda of his own that is quite separate from everything else that is going on, and he's certainly not telling anyone below him, but you kind of get the feeling he's not telling anyone above him, either."

As Wingfield himself points out, it's not always clear whether Ross is supporting or undermining the work of Cold Squad, which begins its second season tonight. He rankles the rank and file right off the bat, suggesting that the squad — which investigates relatively ancient murder files — could use some cutbacks and that the perfect scapegoat in a department scandal might be Logozzo, who's just weeks away from transferring to a cozy desk job.

That Ross. What a jerk.

"I always play bad guys," says Wingfield. "If you have an English accent, you must be the bad guy. I think that is a fundamental basic precept in the North American mind. Anyone who speaks with an English accent cannot be trusted."

Just tell that to the hundreds of fans who will come from all over to Miami for the Highlander Clan Cruise in November. Some will be carrying Peter Wingfield Fan Club (PWFC) tote bags; others will work on recipes for the PWFC cookbook; still others picking up tidbits for the PWFC newsletter.

And Wingfield will be there, sopping up three days of Highlander mania and maniacs.

"They are warm, loving and caring people," says Wingfield. "This is like a catharsis for them and it's great to have an emotional outlet in your life."

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