Ian Lavender (famous for playing Pike in Dad’s Army) has paid tribute to the late Jimmy Perry, who passed away peacefully on Sunday aged 93. Perry was the brains behind the show, helping to create one of Britain’s most-loved comedies.
The character of Private Pike, famous for being a highly anxious mummy’s boy, was partly based on Perry’s own experience during his time in the Watford home guard.
“It’s the end of an era,” Lavender said. “We knew each other for 50 years and it’s very sad to see him go. Now the whole writing partnership has gone, both he and David Croft, and it was a real writing partnership. They came up with some very special stuff together.”
Ian Lavender is the last surviving actor to have been a member of the Walmington-on-Sea home guard platoon, following the death of Clive Dunn in 2012 (Frank Williams is also still alive, but the Vicar was never part of the platoon itself). NB: I have been informed by some readers more knowledgeable on Dad’s Army than myself that the Vicar was actually part of the platoon for an episode.
Ian then recalled how popular Perry was with the Dad’s Army cast:
“He had a love for very loud suits and we all thought he was very brave for wearing them,” Lavender said. “Loud suits with large checks, he was flamboyant to say the least!
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone as pleased as Jimmy was when he arrived on set with his new Mercedes in the early 70s. He said ‘This is the only car that has a single wiper you know, every other car has two!’
“This was around series three or four after the show had really taken off. People started earning more money and Jim could afford a Mercedes so he went out and bought one, as loud as the suits that he wore!”