Don't tell him, Pike: Rick Wakeman's classic comedy callback for Ian Lavender on Celebrity Mastermind

6 February 2024, 10:34

Dad’s Army 1971 movie trailer

By Mayer Nissim

After Ian Lavender's death, we remember a masterful reference to his most famous comedy moment.

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The world of comedy lost a legend this week with the death of Ian Lavender, who had been the last surviving cast member of hit sitcom Dad's Army.

Lavender played Pike to perfection in nine series of the show between 1968 and 1977, as well as the 1971 movie and various radio and stage spinoffs over the years.

Lavender was a consistently hilarious on-screen presence, but is best known for the classic comedy moment when Arthur Lowe's Captain Mainwaring accidentally revealed the name of Private Pike to a German U-boat captain.

After Pike sings a reworked version of 'Whistle While You Work' (...Hitler is a twerp, he's half-barmy, so's his army, whistle while you work!), the captain tells him he too is going on "the list", and asks his name.

Mainwaring blurts out “Don’t tell him, Pike!” and a legendary comic moment was born.

Don't tell him, Pike! - Dad's Army 50th Anniversary

Pike was so much more than that moment, and Lavender so much more than Private Pike, but naturally the scene followed him around for the rest of his career.

And our favourite callback came when Lavender appeared on Celebrity Mastermind at Christmas 2008, taking the chair after Yes man Rick Wakeman finished his round.

As always on that show, host John Humphrys asked Lavender for his name.

Celebrity Mastermind - Ian Lavender - Don't tell him Pike

But before he could say a word, Wakeman piped up in the background with "Don't tell him, Pike".

There were appreciative chuckles and a ripple of applause from the audience, and even a titter from Humphries himself.

"Even here!" Lavender harrumphed, good-naturedly. "Ahh, they'll let anybody in," smiled Humphrys.