Kristin: Who the hell are you?
Methos: A man who was born long before the Age of Chivalry.
Peter Michael Wingfield was born September 5, 1962, in Cardiff, Wales, UK. He grew up in Grangetown, “a dingy suburb of a small town in Wales.” He attended a church school two miles away in the nearby suburb of Llandaff. Peter also claims that he’s “just an innocent little Welsh boy from the Taff Valley,” a river valley north of Cardiff.
Duncan: All you have to do is act a little.
Methos: Do I look like an actor?
It was in high school that Peter discovered his love of acting. Funded by the church, his school always did an Easter play. One year, drama teacher John Gould didn’t like a student who had a one-line speaking part, and when the student took ill Peter got the part instead. “I had just one speech at the crucifixion, that became very emotional for me. It kind of tapped something off in me.” Peter’s life, however, was mapped out in medicine, so despite his attraction to acting, the teenaged Peter never thought it could be a career.
Peter’s next role was in a Christmas play, Ondine, where he played an illusionist and entered the scene walking on his hands (a feat which he can still do).
In 1980 Peter spent four weeks during a summer break at the National Youth Theatre of Wales. One of the plays he did there was Shakespeare’s The Tempest. It was during those four weeks at the Youth Theatre that Peter got an ear pierced when his buddies held him down and stuck a (not very sterile) needle through it! Peter later pierced the other ear himself after he’d had some medical training.
Joe: Where’d you say you studied medicine?
Methos: Heidelberg. 1453.
Joe: Did you major in medicine or dueling?
Peter trained for five and a half years as a doctor at Brasenose College at Oxford University and St. Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College in London. When asked about Peter, someone in Peter’s year at med school remembered that he was always failing his exams and that he once dressed up as Superman, complete with a padded-muscle costume!
While at med school, Peter spent his spare time in drama groups, and he and a friend set up The Blue Hat Theatre Company. One of the plays they produced, The Tooth of Crime, had an audience of two in Oxford (the actors and audience ended up spending the evening in a pub instead!) and an average audience of six in Edinburgh. That friend may have been Ian Ackland-Snow, a med-school chum who also liked doing theater and who, in a way, gave Peter the courage to continue acting: “If I’d been there on my own, wanting to do plays and be taken seriously, it would have been very tough, because everyone is going to be a doctor... so being really committed to Stanislavsky and acting... people just think you’re a prat.”
It was Peter’s reaction to Field of Dreams (1989), one of his favorite movies, and his fear of becoming merely a “doctor who acted,” which made him decide to leave medical school four weeks before his final exams.
In the fifth and final year, all soon-to-be graduating students were given a one-month sabbatical where they were expected to get involved in something relating to medicine. Peter went off to crew a yacht in the Carribean. When the med school’s equivalent of a dean threatened to put Peter on an obstetric/gynecology rotation as punishment, Peter quit on the spot. [editor’s note: True story or not, just what part of saving women’s and girls’ lives is to be feared or shunned? It’s a disgusting thought to me and should be to Everyone!]
The decision was controversial as no one in Peter’s family is in the performing arts. Peter’s father was the first doctor in the family, and Peter’s older brother David and two cousins also went on to become doctors. (Peter also has two younger half-brothers from his father’s remarriage, one of whom is named Andrew. “Kid brother” Andrew has been known to surf the Internet, checking out web pages about Peter and scaring Peter by telling him how many there are!). Peter says his mum “had seen it coming for years,” so she wasn’t surprised and was supportive. Peter’s father, however, didn’t speak to him for about two years. It was only when Peter got his first professional acting job that his father began to accept that Peter had made the right decision about leaving med school.
Methos: What is the first rule of great drama? Start small and build.
Peter attended the National Youth Theatre in Wales and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. (Other alumni of Guildhall include Ewan McGregor, Joseph Fiennes, David Thewlis, Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Marina Sirtis, Peter Cushing and Alfred Molina, with whom Peter later co-starred in Trust Me.) Though he received some scholarships, Peter still worked at various times as a motorcycle dispatch rider, a math tutor and a children’s entertainer (Charlie Penknife, wearing a safari outfit) to help pay for school and support his young marriage.
While at drama school, one of Peter’s classes was in the use of stage props and arms, especially swords. From there, Peter went on to earn an Advanced Level Stage Fighting certificate. Peter also did lots of radio work in drama school and won the BBC’s Carleton Hobbs radio competition in 1990, his final year.
On leaving drama school in 1990, Peter made his television debut uttering eight words as the taxi driver in the TV movie Antonia and Jane. He said he got the role because he knew how to drive.
In 1991, He went on to play the role of “Martin Welford” (opposite Edward Petherbridge and Sara Kestelman) in Tim Luscombe’s revival of Noel Coward’s POINT VALAINE at the Chicester Festival Theater. In 1992,.... and played “Miglioritti” in David Hare’s 1992 adaptation of Pirandello’s THE RULES OF THE GAME, directed by Jonathan Ken at the Almelda Theatre. Peter played “Durrant” in the Gloria/Cambridge Theater Company production of Marivaux’s THE GAME OF LOVE AND CHANCE, co-directed by Mike Alfreds and Neil Bartlett, which toured nationally in 1992 before coming into the Cottesloe Theatre for a season until April 1993.
Peter went on to play lead roles in two TV drama series — Granada TV’s Medics and Central TV’s Soldier Soldier — and do a series of notorious TV commercials for the video game giant Sega, after which “I had little kids chasing me down the street every time I went out.” Peter also did a television commercial for a Dutch beer called Stella Artois. It’s about a 20 second spot where he steals both a beer and a comely young woman from a biker in a bar. Highly amusing! It was made several years ago, but was being rerun.
Peter then joined the cast of the long running BBC radio drama THE ARCHERS. Though no longer Ambridge’s favorite villian, he played a character named Simon Pemberton, who had a rather ruthless, cold exterior. At one point, Peter was quoted as saying that he thought Simon was “a deeply misunderstood character who is unfortunately not very sensitive to other people’s reactions.” Since then, he’s changed his tune a little bit. Simon’s reputation went rapidly downhill in Ambridge and with the British public as it was revealed that he had a penchance for physically abusing his girlfriends. After temporarily leaving the country to hide from authorities, when he returned, he was charged with assualt and fined. Peter left THE ARCHERS after two years to pursue other avenues of his career, but he did express that he was disappointed in the way that the character was written out; indicating that he wanted Simon to wind up on a slab at the local morgue.
In 1995 Peter first appeared in the Gaumont TV production HIGHLANDER playing Methos, the oldest living immortal. His character gained rapid popularity with both the show’s creative staff and the fans and Peter was asked back for two more episodes in the third season. By then, nearly everyone had caught on to the chemistry between Methos and Duncan MacLeod and the Really Old Guy was an established part of the Highlander world. He appears in several episodes of seasons four, five, and six and has made semi-regular showings at Highlander conventions including The Gathering II, Syndicon East 96 and 97, and, Highlander: The Celebration in Anaheim.
Noah’s Ark ran for six episodes in September and October, 1997. In a sense, he came full circle as his father originally wanted to be a vet, not a doctor, and in Noah’s Ark Peter played a TV vet. Peter says he’s an animal lover (cats are his favorite) but he has asthma and is allergic to them, so he had to take medication while working on Noah’s Ark. However, after spending so much time around animals, he thinks he’s less allergic than he was before — at least house pets don’t set him off anymore!
Methos: Opera. Opera. Opera. Opera. There’s a lot of opera here. Gotta do something about this music. There’s no Springsteen. There’s no Queen...
Peter plays saxophone and flute to studio standard (i.e. he’s recorded music), though it’s been over 10 years since he played flute, and two since he played the sax, so he’s probably a bit rusty! His favorite piece to play on the flute is the piano suite Gymnopedie No. 2 by French composer Erik Satie (1888). Peter’s taste is music is eclectic. He likes everything from Queen, Bruce Springsteen, George Michael and Sting to Oasis and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and especially the Jim Byrnes Band! He likes to listen to music when preparing for a scene.
Methos: What do you think I’d do? Run and hide? Go somewhere you couldn’t find me?
Athletic by nature, Peter ran his first marathon in 1984 with his father, who was running his third. In 1997 Peter ran the London Marathon in 3 hours and 38 seconds. His goal is to run it in less than three hours. Peter also likes to play soccer and is a fan of London’s Arsenal Football Club. Peter’s love of physical activity has also led him to try such unusual pursuits as clog dancing and parachute jumping. In 1996 Peter bought an MG sports car.
Methos: I was married once, you know. Oh, come to think of it, I was married 67 — no, 68 times.
Peter met his first wife Juliet during a stage production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 1986 or ’87 while they were both in med school. He was playing Dr. Frank-N-Furter and she was doing choreographing and costuming. (He said they went shopping for underwear together.) They got married soon after, with Juliet finishing her final year of med school as Peter was starting drama school. That marriage wasn’t meant to be, however, and Peter got divorced in late 1997.
Peter remarried in 1998. He and wife Carolyn, who had been his make-up artist on the Highlander set, welcomed their first child, Edan Stewart, into the world on February 18, 2000. Peter currently lives in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
2019 Flash-Forward Update
Starting in 2011, Wingfield significantly reduced his acting career responsibilities. Returning full circle to his earlier interest in a career in medicine, he entered College of Medicine at the University of Vermont as part of the Class of 2015. He received his white coat as part of the U.V.M. College of Medicine White Coat Ceremony in 2012. “As of May 2015, Peter Wingfield graduated from the Medical College at the University of Vermont as a Doctor of Medicine. He is now doing his residency training at San Diego at Scripts Mercy and the University of California San Diego. Peter has chosen to go into the field of anesthesiology. Peter was selected by his peers to speak for the graduating class at the ceremonies.” —IMDb Mini Biography By: Rene Averett, President PWFC
Peter is founder and director of Project Edan, a non-profit organization which raises funds for children’s charities such as UNICEF and the Boston Children’s Hospital. One of Project Edan’s focuses is UNICEF’s Believe in Zero campaign, which hopes to reduce child mortality.
Methos: I’m easily amused.
Peter is a Virgo.
While in high school (15 years old) Peter became a National Trampoline Champion. Around 1991 Peter got on a trampoline again for fun and ended up with a three-day backache because his muscles weren’t used to that particular kind of stress anymore. He hasn’t gone near a trampoline since!
In the late 70s or early 80s, Peter competed for Cardiff AAC in the National Club finals for pole vaulting but he didn’t win and, in fact, failed to clear opening height in the final round!
Peter ran the 1995 London Marathon in 3 hours 8 minutes. In 1997 it was 3 hours 38 seconds.
He holds an Advanced Level Stage Fighting certificate.
As a child, Peter used to make gun noises when he fired his toy pistols. Today, he still makes “swish swish” noises when swinging his sword as Methos.
Methos: You expecting anyone?
Duncan: Maybe it’s one of your fan club.
Many thanks to PWFC.org, WingfieldFans.org, and IMDb.com for biography information