Feb 6 2009 By Rick Fulton
TOM Cruise and Rod Stewart are living proof that short men can still make it big in the love stakes with beautiful, tall women.
And a lack of height doesn't hold actor Dexter Fletcher back either.
But the 5ft 6in star of Hotel Babylon admits his favourite role was starring with Kylie Minogue in the video for her song Some Kind Of Bliss - because it made him look big.
He laughed: "Kylie is great, she even makes me look tall.
"I don't have a problem being a short a*** though. I've always been one, so it's nothing new."
In one film, In Your Dreams, he was teamed up with former Hollyoaks babe Elize Du Toit, who stepped into heels to tower at least a head higher than him.
Dexter admits his lack of height gave him a new insight into Elize.
"She may make me look short, but the view of Elize from down here was very nice," he said grinning.
"It's one of the perks of my job to dance with tall, beautiful girls in high heels and sexy underwear. It's not a bad day at work."
The 43-year-old was a child star in films such as Bugsy Malone, The Long Good Friday and The Elephant Man, as well as playing Spike, a TV cult figure in Press Gang.
More recently, he's been seen in Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels, Band Of Brothers and Stardust.
Now a primetime telly star thanks to his role as concierge Tony in Hotel Babylon, which starts again next month, he will act alongside Nicolas Cage in Kick-Ass later this year, the new film by Scots comic book writer Mark Millar.
About to celebrate his 12th wedding anniversary to wife Dalia, Dexter is back on a winning streak after going bankrupt in 1997 and even having to sleep in a car.
Dexter blew his cash on a house in Muswell Hill, London, which cost him £1500 a month in mortgage payments, and once bought a £15,000 Land Rover to show off to the salesman who was bugging him.
While he managed to sell the house, a huge tax bill landed on his doorstep and he ended up living in a car then moving back to his parents' house, 10 years after leaving the family home as a rich, famous 17-year-old.
He admitted: "It was quite humiliating, but at the same time I met Dalia and moved in with her.
"But we couldn't afford food sometimes. I never want to be in that situation again."
While Dexter's job gives him the chance to canoodle with Elize and Kylie, Dalia is an opera and theatre director and is "very cool about my work", knowing it's just acting.
He added: "In Kick-Ass, my character is put in a car compactor by Nicolas Cage and killed. If Dalia thought that was real, she'd never let me out the house."
Kick-Ass is directed by Dexter's pal Matthew Vaughn, who worked with him on Layer Cake and Stardust. The movie centres on a high school nerd called Dave, played by Aaron Johnson, who decides to become a superhero, even though he has no athletic ability or co-ordination.
He makes a costume and goes out to fight crime. But he gets beaten up while someone is filming him on their phone and he becomes an underground hero on YouTube.
Dexter said: "My character's name is Codey, who is a goon in a criminal gang. I don't have any fight scenes, but I do have scenes with Nick, who ends up killing me.
"My character is related to, and has the same name, as my character in Layer Cake."
The director wanted Dexter to have a bigger part in Kick-Ass, but he had to turn it down because of Hotel Babylon commitments.
WHILE Dexter is back guarding the Hotel Babylon doors, there are some new faces in the BBC series.
Former EastEnder Nigel Harman joins as Sam Franklin, owner of the hotel, while his ex-wife Juliet, played by Anna Wilson-Jones, is the newly appointed Babylon General Manager.
While people in the street may call him Tony and jokingly ask him to take their bags, he is also still called Babyface - his character's name from Bugsy Malone,"a film I made 35 years ago".
He added: "I'm very flattered that something I was in so long ago is still remembered. But people also call me Spike and I get to dust off my old American accent in Hotel Babylon this year, which was a lot of fun.
"I actually play two parts in one episode, Tony and a businessman who isTony's doppelganger.
"Tony and the American decide to swap places for the day, so Tony pretends to be American and the American pretends to be British.
"Hopefully, those of you who remember me as Spike in Press Gang will enjoy the memories."
In Your Dreams is out on DVD on February 9. Hotel Babylon is back next month.
'It's one of the perks of my job to dance with tall girls in sexy underwear'