DAD’S Army legend Ian Lavender, who played hapless Private Pike, is anything but a ‘stupid boy’ - he’s championing a community theatre in South Yorkshire.
The comedy icon entertained fans with stories and clips from the classic TV comedy series in conversation with long-time pal Roger Walton, at the packed 200-seat Lamproom Theatre, in Barnsley.
He helped his friend in a campaign to open the venue, even though the last time he was in Barnsley was for a Babes In The Wood panto in 1973, when they became friends.
And it’s taken the past five years to find a free date in his diary to return to celebrate the success of the Lamproom on Westgate.
Ian - 66 today - is taking a year off after he and his wife recover from illnesses. He survived bladder cancer and a heart attack.
But he was determined to keep his promise to his Barnsley buddy and in an exclusive chat - listen to it at thestar.co.uk - he said: “Roger asked me a long time ago if I would come up for a fundraiser night, because we need lovely little performance places like the Lamproom.”
Ian has appeared on stage, in EastEnders and in films, including Carry On Behind, but is best known for Dad’s Army, often the target of Cpt Mainwaring calling him ‘stupid boy’.
One of TV’s best comedy moments was when a U-boat captain demands his name and Mainwaring warns: “Don’t tell him, Pike!”
Ian said: “When we got the scripts we knew there was always a goody and that was it. We did it in one take. But at the end you see me bite the inside of my cheek. When we finished I actually spat blood out.”
He still gets fans shouting ‘stupid boy’ and ‘don’t tell him Pike’ - but he doesn’t mind one bit.
“I still get repeat fees, people wanting to talk to me and wanting to employ me. What kind of a millstone is that? At times we had upwards of 20 million viewers. The characters tend to be extensions of yourself.
“But I regressed. I went back to being 12. I like to think Pike was naive, not stupid - more often than not when you look back he was right.”