Belfast Telegraph

Fletcher learned from 'wilderness'

Dexter Fletcher has revealed he felt very lost as an adult after being a child actor, but said he learned from the experience.

The 46-year-old - who appeared in The Elephant Man and Bugsy Malone as a child - has directed his first film Wild Bill, about a self-centred father who comes out of prison to find his sons fending for themselves, which was inspired by the way he felt during his "wilderness years".

Dexter said: "My mum had looked after my money as a kid, but as a man of 25, 26, 27, I had no idea how to manage my own finances, I was completely inept. I didn't know how to get the tax paid, balance my mortgage payments - all that stuff was completely out of control."

In the 80s he starred in kids TV show Press Gang.

He said: "I was 22 to 25 and playing a teenager, which was perfect because I really hadn't learned how to grow up. I was playing this perpetual puppy. It was beautifully written and great for me because it meant I could carry on working and avoid my personal issues."

But when the show ended in the early 90s, Dexter found himself presenting a TV game show called Gamesmaster.

He said: "I made bad choices. I needed the money because I was doing drugs and then everyone was like, 'What? This guy was doing Elephant Man and Press Gang, now he's presenting a show about computer games, that's not cool any more', which is justifiable, I think.

"Given the option, I'd rather not have had those years in the wilderness, but what I learned was there's a difference between a man who's still functioning as a boy and a boy who really is a man."

:: Wild Bill is in cinemas now.

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