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Dad’s Army star Ian Lavender dies aged 77

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Dad’s Army star Ian Lavender dies aged 77

Dad’s Army star Ian Lavender dies aged 77

Dad’s Army star Ian Lavender has died at the age of 77.

The news was announced by a Dad’s Army’s social media account on Monday afternoon.

“We are deeply saddened to hear the passing of the wonderful, Ian Lavender. In what truly marks the end of an era, Ian was the last surviving member of the Dad’s Army main cast. His wonderful performance as Private Frank Pike will live on for decades to come. He leaves behind a legacy of laughter enjoyed by millions. We will dedicate this year’s tour to his memory. Our thoughts and love are with Ian’s wonderful wife Miki, their family and close friends.”

The actor was best known to television viewers for his role as Private Frank Pike in the long running BBC wartime sitcom.

Set in the fictional Walmington-on-Sea during WWII the show ran from 1968 to 1977; with Lavender’s character working during the day at the local bank alongside his alleged father (although it was often implied but never said) Sergent Arthur Wilson (John Le Mesurier) and bank manager Captain George Manwaring (Arthur Lowe).

In the evening the three assisted the ‘home guard’ protecting Britain from Nazi invasion. The main plots revolved around the adventures and mis-adventures of the platoon which also starred Clive Dunn as Lance Corporal Jones and Arnold Ridley as Private Godfrey.

The characters were devised by Jimmy Perry, who noted Private Pike was based upon himself during that period of time in the 1940s.

Lavender was the last surviving member of the series’ main cast. He passed away on Friday, according to BBC News.

Clive Dunn as L-Cpl Jack Jones, Ian Lavender as Pvt. Frank Pike, Arthur Lowe as Captain George Mainwaring, John Le Mesurier as Sgt. Arthur Wilson, John Laurie as Pvt. James Frazer and Arnold Ridley as Pvt. Charles Godfrey.

Lavender as Derek Harkinson in EastEnders

The actor was also known for his role as Derek Harkinson in the BBC soap EastEnders which he played on-and-off between 2001-2017. A childhood friend of Pauline Fowler (Wendy Richard) the pair were reacquainted through their involvement in a community play. Pauline made a move on Derek and was left mortified when he rebuffed her and revealed he is gay. Their friendship survived and Derek became Pauline’s lodger and a father-figure to her son Martin (James Alexandrou).

In 2005, Derek left Walford to live with his son Alex who he had recently reconnected with, behind-the-scenes the decision had been taken to write the character out to “renew storylines”.

Lavender returned to the show in 2016 but left after just a year after he became ill with sepsis, having previously battled cancer and a heart attack.

He was born in Birmingham in 1946 and studied at Bournville Technical College before attending the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, graduating in 1967.

In 1968, he made his first television appearance in the ATV play Flowers at My Feet, before going on to become the youngest cast member of Dad’s Army.

He also appeared on stage, including in The Merchant of Venice, as well as in other TV comedies, such as Come Back Mrs Noah and Yes Minister.

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