Ian Lavender, the last remaining cast member of beloved BBC sitcom Dad’s Army, has died. He was 77.
An X statement from the official Dad’s Army Radio Show account announced that Lavender, who played Private Frank Pike in the sitcom that ran for a decade, ending in 1977, had died on Friday.
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“We are deeply saddened to hear the passing of the wonderful Ian Lavender,” said the statement. “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.”
The statement added that Lavender, who appeared in the 2016 Dad’s Army movie and whose other work included EastEnders, Parsley Sidings and Rising Damp, “leaves behind a legacy of laughter enjoyed by millions.” It said it would dedicate this year’s Dad’s Army tour to Lavender’s memory.
Born in Birmingham in 1946, Lavender appeared in plays at school and made his first TV appearance in a half hour play in the late 1960s.
Aged just 22, he was talent spotted by the BBC and cast as Private Frank Pike, the youngest member and “stupid boy” of the platoon that became famous across the nation. He acted across nine series in the smash sitcom alongside the likes of Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier, Clive Dunn and John Laurie.
Running from 1968 to 1977, Dad’s Army was one of the biggest hits on British TV of that generation and Lavender played a huge part in its success. His character was lovable – a frequent target of notorious Captain Mainwaring’s derision, often finding himself on the end of one of Mainwaring’s “You stupid boy” rants.
Lavender also featured in a 1971 Dad’s Army spin-off movie, 1980s radio spin-off titled It Sticks Out Half a Mile and the 2016 pic, in which he played a cameo as Brigadier Pritchard, his last major role.
After Dad’s Army ended, he landed big roles in the theater including The Merchant of Venice opposite Dustin Hoffman. Later, he had TV parts in the likes of Yes Minister, Cluedo and Keeping Up Appearances. He played Derek Harkinson, a gay friend of Pauline Fowler, in BBC soap EastEnders in the early noughties.
1/2 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… pic.twitter.com/pOgwfaBCje
— Dad's Army Radio Show (@DadsArmyRadio) February 5, 2024
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