The curse of Dad's Army claims its final victim and much too young. Sad to learn of the death of Ian Lavender, who was not only one of the first comedy TV characters that I really warmed to (in a show about old people, Pike was the child and dafter than me and I loved him for it - I vividly remember the infamous "Don't Tell Him Pike" scene being broadcast for the first time and how much that joke delighted me), but also appeared in the greatest work of art of all time Goodnight Sweetheart (though in an episode where Gary changed the future for the benefit of his son and thus really caused confusion about whether his actions in the past altered the present) and also a terrific and bemused guest on a very weird episode of RHEFP where Tony Law had been out all night and taken a weird refreshment of some kind and was slightly dangerously out of control (even for him). Listen here
He was a gent and though he took it with good grace that he was associated with his first (admittedly amazing) role, he was much more than just Pike. Don't tell him though. It's too late.
I get Moon on a Stick shouted at me about once every five years. He can hardly have gone a day of his adult life without a Don't Tell Him Pike. It wasn't even his line.
In the dum show, Ian's sketch (and maybe on Ian News on Fist of Fun) we'd done a slyly mildy mean joke about Lavender not being able to chair the Ian yearly celebrations, having had to step down after five years "due to a TV commitment." We young bucks laughing at the idea of his career not being what it was, not considering the fact that anything like that could happen to us. To be fair it hasn't happened to Lee, Coogan or Marber, all of whom can also claim to have had successes equal to or better than Dad's Army. I cannot though. So the arrogance of youth (pretty sure Coogan came up with the line) has a long time to settle.
As joyful as it always is to have Armando on the podcast, it always makes me think a little of how things might have been if decisions had run differently and also to acknowledge that I have probably the least stellar career of any of the people involved in On The Hour (to be fair, everyone else has had amazingly stellar careers). And Armando deserves his success more than anyone. It's hard to think of a funnier, knider or cleverer man and I have been fortunate to spend any time in his orbit. Though he did reference our Weekending sketch that we wrote upon the release of the Birmingham Six, imagining them travelling in a van, solving mysteries, called "The Adventures of the Birmingham Six" which I had forgotten. I think it was my idea though and if nothing else I have that.
And if that wasn't enough my other guest was Rob Brydon, a man who has enjoyed success in many jobs, many media and all kinds of style of comedy. If RHLSTP has taught me anything it is that generally speaking show business is a meritocracy and whilst a few greats may be undiscovered or fall by the wayside, most of them get the accolades they deserve.
In addition to two amazing guests we also got a surprise set from Scant Regard who also performed the theme tune live for us, so it was a very special night.
I put on 4 Extra on the way home and Rob Brydon was narrating the Flight of the Conchords radio show (from back in the day obviously).
A great day coming to terms with my own inadequacies, but these people are inspiring too and hopefully will push you (and maybe even me) on to future successes. None of it really matters anyway. If you want a legacy don't become a comedian. It's an art form of immediacy and that's the best thing about it.