Ryan is a Shameless star

Ryan Wilkinson, who has a speaking role in TV's Shameless.
Ryan Wilkinson, who has a speaking role in TV's Shameless.

YOUNG Ryan Wilkinson and his family will be glued to the TV next month.

The 12-year-old from Fleetwood will be appearing in an episode of Shameless - and in a key speaking role.

Budding actor Ryan, who attends Cardinal Allen Catholic Primary School, plays a cheeky character who has plenty to say for himself.

It is expected that the episode will be broadcast on March 5.

Ryan, of Shakespeare Road, is thrilled to have been involved in the show and rates the role as one of the best things he has ever done.

The series has been one of Channel’s biggest hits since 2004, and is set on the fictional Chatsworth housing estate in Manchester.

It follows the scrapes that the main characters get into, and is known for its down-to-earth - and slightly rough-and-ready style.

One of the chief characters is Frank Gallagher, an unemployed alcoholic who nevertheless sometimes quotes Shakespeare and is something of a philosopher.

Ryan said: “The character I play is a bit of a bad boy but I can’t say too much about what happens before it is shown on TV. It was a brilliant experience.

“I had a few scenes with David Threlfall, who plays Frank Gallagher, which I was pleased about.

“The cast and crew were smashing.”

Ryan wasn’t even auditioning for the part he eventually got. He had gone along for a smaller part but the casting team spotted something in the Fleetwood lad which might work well with the bigger role.

Ryan is a member of the Scream Management acting agency in Blackpool and is no stranger to working on TV.

He had smaller parts in BBC series The Secret of Crickley Hall, and Sky series Bedouin. He has also been involved in filming for a new Zombie series, In The Flesh, with Royle Family star Ricky Tomlinson.

He says: “I always wanted to be an actor since I was young. I have been involved in a few stage schools in Fleetwood and Thornton, but things really took on when I joined the Scream Stage School.”

Ryan is keeping up with his school studies, of course, but he is determined to pursue a career in acting.

The young actor lives with dad Leigh Wilkinson, and his grandparents, Wilf and Margaret Wilkinson.

Wilf said: “No one else in the family has been involved in acting, but Ryan’s sort of broken the mould. Even when he was two years old he would like to sing and put on a show.

“One time he was at a train station and he had a crowd watching him sing.

“He really wants to do this for a living.”

Wilf went along with Ryan for the Shameless filming last autumn and said of the cast: “We had a great time down in Manchester. Everyone was unbelievably friendly.

“Actors James Dreyfus and Clive Mantle even want for a drink with us in our hotel.”

Ryan was off for an audition in Leeds this week, hoping to win another role.