By Kevin Fraser Park •
Published: 05 Feb 2024 • 14:57
Ian Lavender as Private Pike
He was 22 and just out of drama school when he first starred as Private Pike in Dad’s Army.
The series, about a Home Guard platoon during the Second World War, ran on BBC One for 10 years from 1968 to 1977 and has been repeated frequently ever since as well as being shown on TV around the world, even including Germany.
Before it was first broadcast, test audiences gave Dad’s Army a big thumbs down which could have scuppered the show before it even started. But in the end, the production team went ahead and the show had regular audiences of 18 million viewers, a figure programme makers today can only dream of.
The last surviving member of the Dad’s Army cast, Ian Lavender also starred in ‘Yes Minister’ and ‘EastEnders’and appeared on stage in a production of Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant Of Venice’. He appeared in every episode of Dad’s Army during its 10-year run as well as the 1971 spin-off feature film.
Ian grew up in Birmingham and went to drama school in Bristol before getting his big break. He battled illness during his life; cancer, a heart attack and leaving EastEnders having contracted sepsis.
He always referred to Sergeant Wilson, played by John Le Mesurier as ‘Uncle Arthur’ but, in a later interview with the Radio Times he said that on the last ever day of filming he asked one of the show’s writers, David Croft, if in fact ‘Uncle Arthur’ was his father. The reply was “Yes, of course he is”.
To viewers who remember the series, in what some might argue were the glory days of British sitcom, Ian Lavender as Private Pike will always be remembered by the line, “You stupid boy!”.
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Kevin was born in Scotland and worked in marketing, running his own businesses in UK, Italy and, for the last 8 years, here in Spain. He moved to the Costa del Sol in 2016 working initially in real estate. He has a passion for literature and particularly the English language which is how he got into writing.
Dad´s Army was a genuine British comedy show, I watched it as a kid and I still watch it as an old man. It was incredibly funny then and still is and no bad langauge, just a brilliant funny show. There were so many great actors starring in the show. I was recently watching a very good TV series when suddenly without any genuine need for it there was apart where the female PM came out of her shower naked and full frontal and proceed to get dressed and I was totally surprised because I could not understand what relevance this had to the show. This is the difference between great script writing where the show was funny, interesting, without smut, swearing, nudity, but todays entertainment is not entertainment without nudity and swearing. I would put money on it that Dad´s Army will still be funny in twenty years from now and the TV series will never see light of day once the series is finished.
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