As Britain’s tallest man, Neil Fingleton, prepares to launch a stage career as the giant in Jack and the Beanstalk, he has revealed that his real dream is to play a Bond villain.
The seven foot seven-and-a-half inch actor says he hopes his panto role at the Lighthouse Theatre in Poole, Dorset, this Christmas will bring offers flooding in.
“Certain roles would be right up my alley. I’m just waiting from them to come along.” he told me. “What would be really nice is a Bond villain or something.”
The 28-year-old from Durham, who has size 15 feet and a 54 inch inside leg measurement ,was officially recognised as the tallest man in the UK by the Guinness Book of Records two years ago.
Neil, who weighs in at 25 stone, had returned to England after moving to America as a teenager in the 1990s hoping to make his fortune as a professional basketball player.
When a back injury halted his career, he came back to the Britain with hopes of becoming a professional actor.
But despite TV documentary work and a role in the 2007 film Shortfellas in which he appeared alongside a cast of dwarfs, stardom has so far eluded him.
Neil accepts that most traditional acting roles are off bounds. “No one’s going to ask me to play a seven foot seven inch waiter or something,” he says. “I know it’s inevitable that I’ll be type-cast because of my size but hopefully when people see I can really act, it will open a few doors.”
Neil says he has never been embarrassed by his height. “Why should I be?,” he asks. “My height has done a lot of good things for me. I’m really proud that out of 64 million people in this country I’m the tallest.
“I’ve never lacked confidence and I’ve always had good friends and family who just accept me for who I am. My height has never been a problem.”
Initially however his rapid growth - he was over seven feet tall by the time he was just 11-years-old - was a very real worry to his family. Medical tests however revealed that Neil was simply genetically tall.
“I don’t have any conditions or disorders. I’m completely healthy.”
Not surprisingly Neil comes from a relatively tall family. His mother Christine is six foot, his late father Michael was six foot one and his sister Keely is six foot three. It is only his brother, also called Michael, who comes close to his own towering stature at six foot eight.
Neil says the biggest problem with being seven foot seven is the cost. He has to have his clothes specially made, sleeps in a customised eight foot bed and has had the drivers seat in his car modified to accommodate his huge frame.
He also eats vast amounts of food - around 8,000 calories a day or three times as much as the average person - and when it comes to celebrating, he says he has to drink up to 25 pints of beer just to get merry.
“I’m a big fella and I do like a drink now and again but I really don’t do it very often.” he says, adding: It’s quite expensive if you’re drinking 20 pints every night.”
Neil Fingleton will be in Jack and the Beanstalk at Lighthouse, Poole, together with former Coronation Street actors Rupert Hill and Jenny Platt and Antonio Fargas (Huggy Bear in Starsky and Hutch) from Friday December 11 until Sunday January 3.