Hotel Babylon – second series coming soon to BBC One
Dexter Fletcher plays Tony Casemore, Concierge
In order to play the role of Tony Casemore, the ever efficient concierge of Hotel Babylon, Dexter spent some time with a real-life concierge whose identity he is reluctant to reveal.
However Tony has had a make-over for series two. He is more stream-lined, has had a haircut and looks smarter but other than that he is still the same old Tony.
The haircut is left over from another role in which my head was shaved right down to the skull but I was working with Robert De Niro so I didn't have any qualms about cutting my hair off – I would have painted my head blue if he's asked me!," he laughs.
Dexter claims to have not done a lot since Hotel Babylon finished filming last year but squeezing in a movie starring Robert De Niro and Michelle Pffeifer and a trip to see the gorillas of Uganda doesn't sound like "very little" at all!
"After Babylon finished I went on holiday to Tahiti with my wife; came home and worked on my script with my partner Jason Flemyng.
"Then I got an invitation to go to see the gorillas in Uganda; I also went on a chimpanzee trek and white water rafting on the Nile.
"I came home and my pal Matt Vaughn was directing Stardust starring Michelle Pffeifer, Robert De Niro, Claire Danes and Ricky Gervais so I ended up playing De Niro's right hand man – his first mate ... my name is skinny pirate in the script but all my scenes are with De Niro.
"It's only a cameo role but it's a really funny family film. And we had some classic funny moments particularly when De Niro and Ricky Gervais are standing around improvising with each other which is just brilliant and very hard to keep a straight face.
"Then straight after that I went to another film called In Your Dreams where I play the lead role – a dentist called Albert Ross starring ER's Parminda Nagra.
"Then I literally had eight hours off and came straight onto the new series of Hotel Babylon so yeah I guess that is a lot."
It must have been difficult getting back into the role of Tony after such a hectic few months but Dexter seems to have taken it in his stride.
"Tony has been around so long now that he really is the backbone of the hotel and his department. He has a new young apprentice whom he has taken under his wing so maybe he is harbouring plans to retire but he seems happy ticking along."
"However Tony is aware that when you take on anyone new there is always a chance that something could go wrong and when Derek had to be sacked towards the end of the last series it was a tough call for Tony," he says.
"Tony is a bit more grizzled in these scripts and tougher but we see an interesting side to him this series that the audiences didn't get to see much of last year," he adds.
Tony doesn't have it all plain sailing his year and his mettle is tested a few times during the course of the series.
"He doesn't have an easy ride at all but he is harder and probably more protective of his reputation and turf now he has an apprentice to train up and there is an episode when his confidence takes a severe bashing – and you will have to wait and see why – but let's just say Tony is really shaken by it and he begins to make some bad decisions."
"What is interesting is that through making these bad choices it seems like he has to go through them in order to get back to who he is ... but he does go sideways for a while ... and I found it good for me to play because it is always challenging to do something different with a character. I enjoyed it but I enjoyed bringing him home too," he adds.
"What I always love about Tony is that he is a fixer, a mover and a shaker and has his finger on the pulse of the hotel," says Dexter. "Tony is the character in Babylon who manages to get a handle on situations and get things back on track ... the man who people turn to in a crisis," he adds.
"Primarily the writers have come up with some terrific scripts again; the hotel has had a face lift and the hotel continues to throw up all these different situations.
"So as an actor I get to play out brilliant scenarios like throwing people out of the hotel, prostitutes have to be worked and managed and then Tony has to deal with Rebecca and Charlie as he is somewhere in the middle ground between the office and the guests," explains Dexter.
"What continues to be interesting and fun about Hotel Babylon," he says, "is that the drama makes this world accessible to the audience who may aspire to either work or stay in a five-star hotel."
There was never any doubt as to what Dexter Fletcher was going to do with his life. He began his television career very early on by going to a drama club in Islington two nights a week.
He got some small extras parts in films and TV at the age of seven before going on to do Steptoe and Son playing Diana Dors' son. He then landed a part in the cult transatlantic movie Bugsy Malone.
"I played Babyface over 30 years ago in Bugsy Malone when I was nine years old alongside Scott Baio and a very young Jodie Foster. I then went on to work on numerous films before joining the RSC full-time at Stratford at the age of 16."
Despite being best known in the UK for his role as Spike in the children's drama Press Gang, Dexter has worked with some of the world's greatest writers, directors and actors including: Alan Rickman, Mel Gibson, Steven Poliakoff, Hayley Mills, Derek Jarman, Laurence Olivier, Anthony Hopkins, Al Pacino, Jeff Goldblum, Kate Winslet, and Christopher Eccleston - and the list doesn't stop there! He can now add Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer on the end.
After a break from screen acting to concentrate on theatre again in his 20's, Fletcher returned to film in his early 30's when he landed a part in the cult movie of the 90s – Guy Ritchie's Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
The HBO/BBC hit drama Band of Brothers followed along with Mike Leigh's Topsy Turvy, Tristan and Isolde with Mark Strong, and Doom with The Rock, were both released in 2006, but there is still much more that Fletcher would like to do.