Today is the birthday of Yorkshire actor Peter Firth (1953). Fans of the Kudos/BBC television program Spooks will recognize Firth for his portrayal of Sir Harry Pearce, the formidable head of MI5’s counter-terrorism unit. As a leader, Harry doesn’t hesitate to make the tough decisions when the safety of British citizens is at stake. Nor does he suffer fools gladly, particularly when they place political or self interest above that of the nation. Harry’s a master of the one-liner when expressing contempt for those who fail to live up to his standards. (“I’m sorry–that’s the sound of incredulous laughter being stifled.”) And he’s one lucky fellow, given the dangerous nature of his job and Spooks’ penchant for killing off its characters; Firth is the only actor to have survived the entire run of the series thus far.
But this current project is hardly Firth’s first taste of success. In his youth, he played the part of troubled teenager Alan Strang in Peter Shaffer’s Equus, both in the original London and Broadway stage productions, and later in the film version with Richard Burton. For a complete list of Firth's credits, check out the Internet Movie Database's extensive filmography. Firth received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from University of Bradford, West Yorkshire, in 2009.
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(Peter Firth at the 2009 BAFTA Television Awards ceremony, where Spooks was nominated for Best Drama Series. Photo by damo1977, from Flickr)