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Mel Giedroyc leads tributes to star of Dad’s Army Ian Lavender

Actress and comedian Mel Giedroyc has lead the tributes to Dad’s Army star Ian Lavender following his death aged 77.

The former Great British Bake Off presenter, 55, spoke of Lavender’s legacy during an appearance on The One Show on Monday evening.

In tribute, co-host of the BBC One programme Alex Jones said: “We just wanted to say our thoughts are with actor Ian Lavender’s family as it was announced today that he died at the age of 77.

“Many will remember him for playing Private Pike in Dad’s Army. He also starred in Yes Minister and EastEnders, and of course will be greatly missed.”

After watching a clip of Lavender as Private Frank Pike, Giedroyc said: “An amazing guy, an amazing performance. Iconic.”

She added: “I think we all just hold onto the fact that his work remains forever and ever, and generations in future years will love him as we all loved him.

“An extraordinary performance Pike.”

The Birmingham-born actor was also known for playing Derek Harkinson, a friend of Pauline Fowler (Wendy Richard) in BBC One soap EastEnders from 2001 to 2005.

In an Instagram post, the long-running soap paid tribute to the actor and said: “We are deeply saddened to hear that Ian Lavender has passed away.

“Ian created a wonderful character in Derek Harkinson and quickly became a favourite amongst the viewers.

“Those that worked with him at EastEnders will remember him fondly for his warmth, kindness and compassion and our love and thoughts are with Ian’s family and friends.”

Actress Natalie Cassidy, who plays Sonia Fowler in the British soap, commented on the post and called Lavender a “truly gorgeous human being”.

BBC director of comedy Jon Petrie added: “Ian was a much-loved actor and will be sorely missed by all those who knew him.

“In his role of Private Pike, in Dad’s Army, he delivered some of the most iconic and loved moments in the history of British comedy. Our thoughts are with his family.”

On X, formerly Twitter, comedian Omid Djalili said: “So sorry to hear that our dear friend Ian Lavender has passed away.

“Worked with him on the marvellous stage version of #ShawshankRedemption summer 2013 in Edinburgh and he was a joy.”

Chris Daniels, director of the annual Bristol comedy film festival Slapstick – which Lavender supported, said the actor “gave our audiences some truly unforgettable moments.”

In a statement seen by the PA news agency, he said: “Everyone involved with Slapstick has been deeply saddened to learn of the death of Ian Lavender – a long-standing patron of the festival, regular visitor and valued contributor of programming ideas.”

The actor’s agent confirmed that TV star, who was the last remaining main cast member from the wartime-set BBC show Dad’s Army, died on Friday morning.

Hilary Gagan told PA that Lavender had been ill for some time, and his wife and sons were by his side.

Lavender is best known for playing the hapless Pike, who frequently had run-ins with Captain George Mainwaring (Arthur Lowe), calling him “Stupid Boy”, and who was looked after by Sergeant Arthur Wilson (John Le Mesurier).

Pike, the youngest member of the Home Guard troop and a bank clerk, would often refer to Wilson as Uncle Arthur as he was in a relationship with his overprotective mother Mavis Pike (Janet Davies).

He also acted in other TV comedies such as Yes Minister, Keeping Up Appearances and Goodnight Sweetheart and in a Carry On film.

He also appeared on stage, including in The Merchant Of Venice with Dustin Hoffman, and as the narrator in a touring production of The Rocky Horror Show.

He returned to Walford in 2016 but left in 2017 after he became ill with sepsis, having previously battled cancer and a heart attack.

Lavender is survived by his wife, choreographer and stage director Michelle Hardy, and their sons Sam and Daniel.