Boy wins part in Grange Hill

The grandson of a former Wigan MP is to be in the limelight himself after landing a major role in Britain's favourite school soap.

Following in the footsteps of Tucker Jenkins and Zammo Maguire, Tom Stott is playing Grange Hill new boy Kevin "Laxo" Archer.

It is a demanding role for the Standish 12-year-old who has been filming in Liverpool almost every week since the summer holidays began for the new 20-part series which airs on the BBC in January.

But he is loving every minute of it and dad Andy says Tom's grandad, the late Wigan MP Roger Stott, would have been delighted and proud of his achievements.

Tom, a pupil at Standish High School, was plucked from the ranks of the Willpower Youth Theatre Company after starring in a wartime film made by masters degree students at Manchester University.

After a series of auditions in Merseyside, he was offered the part of Laxo who figures large in the new series. Andy, who has himself been heavily involved in the performing arts, said Tom had always enjoyed drama.

When Andy was head of music at Winstanley College, the young Tom took part in several productions including Joseph, Les Miserables and The Full Monty in which he played the part of Nathan.

And membership of Willpower, whose sister company the Intercity Casting Agency is a productive source of young TV talent, soon followed.

The nickname Laxo comes from the character's relaxed attitude to the female sex and there are plenty of amusing episodes as he fancies his chances with girls, including a sixth former!

Tom said: "I am thrilled to be part of one of the BBC's longest-running and most popular children's programmes.

"I hope I can be in it for a few more years to come."

Andy said: "Tom has been very busy but he has really taken to the job and is having a great time. Standish High School have been very accommodating about the time off and he has tuition in between filming to catch up.

"It's important that he does a good job and keeps up with his school work as well. Who knows, if the character proves popular he might stay with it all the way through to Grange Hill's sixth form!

"His grandad would have been delighted and very proud of him."