A SCOTTISH schoolboy is about to be catapulted to international fame after landing a role in a top US TV drama.
Roderick Gilkison, from Bearsden in East Dunbartonshirel, only started acting a year ago.
But the 11-year-old is set for the big time after winning a key role in Scotland’s answer to Game of Thrones.
Roderick will play Hamish McKenzie, warrior heir to the chieftianship of a Scottish clan in the Highlands-set drama Outlander.
The biggest role previously taken by the boy from Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire, was Benji in a travelling version of Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
Before that the big time meant being cast as Puck in his school’s version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
But in Outlander, produced by California-based Starz media and Battlestar Gallactica writer Ron Moore, he will be seen by an international audience.
A spokesman for Roderick’s school, which asked not to be identified, conceded that his bright red hair had helped land him the role.
“Someone said ‘have you seen they’re looking for a boy with red hair?’ and he fit the bill.
“He seems to be fairly level-headed about it. I suspect his family are pinching themselves saying has this really happened?”
He continued: “He’s more interested in playing for the football club than the theatre club.
“He only started this year, it sounds like he’s got natural acting talent.”
Roderick and his family, including father Alex Gilkison, Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of the West of England, have been sworn to secrecy about the show, which begins production this month.
But the show’s producers said he was “thrilled” about the role, which give him the chance to act alongside Graham McTavish, who played Dwalin in ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,’ the movie based on his favorite book by J.R.R. Tolkien.
In his spare time he loves playing with his new puppy ‘Red’ who shares his red hair.
The show’s star, 33-year-old Dumfriesshire actor Sam Heughan, Tweeted this week (wed): “Met Roddy today, what a charmer! Great lad!”
Based on a series of novels by American author Diana Gabaldon, Outlander sees a nurse travel back through time to the Highlands of Scotland around the time of the Jacobite rebellions, meeting a swashbuckling warrior played by Heughan.
Hollywood website The Wrap described Roderick’s role as “rambunctious and spirited with a child’s understanding of the power his father and uncle have – power that one day may very well be his.”
Gabaldon added on Twitter: “Always best to have a kid of that age on your side.”
Fans of the series took to Gabaldon’s Facebook page after news of Roderick’s casting.
Patti Roberts Jett wrote “What a cutie-pie! Another home run from the casting company” and Donna Leach Beard said: “He’s perfect! And perfectly adorable, too.”