Private Frank Pike from Dad's Army is now 75 years old and looks unrecognisable from much loved comedy

DAD'S Army star Ian Lavender looks very different from his role as Private Frank Pike on the much-loved comedy.

The 75-year-old – who found fame in the sitcom bout the UK's Home Guard during the Second World War – went onto appear in various other TV roles including BBC One's EastEnders.

The programme originally broadcasted from 1968 to 1977 and ran for nine series and 80 episodes in total.

The actor played the youngest of the platoon, a somewhat immature mother's boy, often wearing a thick scarf over his uniform to prevent illness and a frequent target for Captain George Mainwaring's ridicule – often referring to him as "You stupid boy".

Pike is not called up to the regular army due to his rare blood group and instead works for Mainwaring in his day job as an assistant bank clerk.

He frequently addresses Sergeant Wilson as "Uncle Arthur".

On the last day of filming, David Croft confirmed to Lavender that Wilson was Pike's father.

Ian – who is the only one of the main cast alive today – starred alongside Arthur Lowe, Clive Dunn, John Laurie, James Beck, John Le Mesurier and Arnold Ridley.

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Ian attended the prestigious Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, the school has produced stars likeOlivia Colman, Jeremy Irons, Josh O'Connor and Daniel Day-Lewis.

Aged just 22, Ian landed his first major role being cast in Dad's Army, only a year after graduating from drama school.

In 2001, the actor returned to our screens as Derek Harkinson in EastEnders, a friend of Pauline Fowler, who was played by his real-life pal Wendy Richard.

He appeared in over 250 episodes over four years, with storylines mainly involving the Fowler family, before leaving in 2005 and making a brief return in 2016.

He then went onto star in a variety of theatre shows including The Rocky Horror Show in 2007 and made an appearance in Casualty that same year.

He also starred in Sister Act the musical in 2009 and stage version of The Shawshank Redemption in 2013.

The actor was previously married to fellow actor Sue Kerchiss from 1967 until their divorce in 1973.

In 1993, Ian was diagnosed with bladder cancer, six days before marrying his second wife, American-born Miki Hardy.

Ian revealed in 2018 that he would go back to the soap.

In an interview with The Radio Times he said: "I've got nothing but admiration for all the soaps, for the getting on to the screen of three and four episodes a week."

He added: "The pure discipline of that."

Lavender said after the last episode of Dad's Army in 1977 he asked creator David Croft if Uncle Arthur was Pike's father.

Ian added: "He looked at me and said, 'Of course he is!'"

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