"Lookin' good for a 5,000-year-old man"
The Toronto Star
25 November 1998
PETER WINGFIELD: His Cold Squad character Simon
Ross and his Highlander alter ego are enigmas
Is there a doctor in the house?
There could have been, had Peter Wingfield not switched from operating
theatre to stage.
Wingfield plays Simon Ross, no-nonsense inspector and sometimes
spin doctor on the series Cold Squad. A native of Cardiff,
Wales, he trained as a doctor at Brasenose College, Oxford.
"Who knew?" Wingfield recalls over the phone from his
adoptive Vancouver, "I did 5 1/2 years of training. My father
is a retired doctor, a hospital doctor. I really got into acting
late I was 16, 17 when I started doing anything. I never
thought of it as a realistic career; deep down I felt you can't
make a living.
"During medical training, I did lots and lots of plays. Later
on I started acknowledging that I didn't want to be a doctor who
acted in his spare time. I had to burn all my bridges so I left
before the end of training. My dad was apoplectic for quite a while.
He took it personally, it was what he did for a living."
Wingfield was classically trained. But drama school, he says in
retrospect, was not exactly the best training for TV.
"We had a laughable TV training, where other students were
pushing a camera, trying to focus. But loads of Shakespeare and
Ibsen and classics."
His TV credits include the Brit series Crocodile Shoes,
Medics and The Men's Room. His stage credits include
Pirandello's Six Characters In Search Of An Author and The
Rules Of The Game.
He has been based in Vancouver since last year, but fell in love
with B.C. in 1995, when he came to shoot a "few" episodes
of the sorcery and swashbuckle series Highlander. He was
held over to do the fourth and fifth seasons.
In Highlander, he played the dual role of Adam Pierson/Methos.
What started out as a four-day gig in France (the majority of the
series is shot in Paris) evolved into the turning point in his career.
The series took off faster than Leonardo DiCaprio at a photo op.
"At a convention in Denver was the first point I got sense
of what the series meant to the fans," Wingfield marvels. "Fifteen-hundred
to 2,000 people went completely nuts! It was the defining point
in my life the whole basis of my work shifted to the North
"I played the oldest man in the world, it was great. He was
about 5,000 years old and they worked hard not to define him. Turns
out I was one of the Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse. The great
mystery of the character allowed him to be a different character
every time you saw him. It was an incredible opportunity for an
actor: I went from soppy romantic to vicious war monger."
Wingfield can find a correlation between Methos and Ross.
"In a sense, there is a similarity in character," he
allows. "You don't know about Ross' past. He is secretive.
But they are very different characters, too. Ross is very driven;
Methos is laissez faire. Ross is obsessed by his job and
doing it well. He has a life plan, being chief of police or maybe
more. Maybe president, king, ruler of the world I don't know."