Ian Lavender, known for his role as Private Pike in the popular TV series Dad’s Army, has passed away at the age of 77. Lavender, a native of Birmingham, was only 22 when he was cast in the BBC sitcom, which catapulted him to fame. He spent a decade on the show, becoming the last surviving main cast member.
In addition to Dad’s Army, Lavender had roles in other TV comedies like Yes Minister and stage performances such as The Merchant of Venice. He also had a role in EastEnders as Derek Harkinson, which he reprised for a holiday storyline in 2016.
Lavender, who passed away on Friday, studied acting at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and was quickly cast in Dad’s Army shortly after graduation. The beloved series, which depicted a Home Guard platoon during World War Two, ran from 1968 to 1977 on BBC One.
The series also featured Arthur Lowe as Captain Mainwaring, Arnold Ridley as Private Godfrey, and John Le Mesurier as Sergeant Wilson. Lavender’s character, Pike, was the youngest member of the troop and often clashed with Mainwaring.
Dad’s Army was a hit in the 1970s, regularly drawing more than 18 million viewers and leaving a lasting impact on British pop culture. Some of its catchphrases are still in use today.
Lavender joined EastEnders in 2001 and stayed for four years. He made a brief return to the show fifteen years later but left in 2017 due to illness. The following year marked the 50th anniversary of Dad’s Army, which was celebrated with a collection of stamps featuring the main characters by Royal Mail.