Dad’s Army star Ian Lavender returns to EastEnders as Derek Harkinson for Christmas storyline

The actor will be back on screens later this month

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Ian Lavender is to reprise the role of Derek Harkinson on EastEnders later this month. The 70-year-old actor – best known for playing Private Pike in Dad’s Army – will be seen in a number of episodes over the festive season.

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Lavender was last seen in Walford back in 2005 when his character waved goodbye to Albert Square in order to be with his family. As long-time viewers of the BBC1 soap know, Derek became close friends with Pauline Fowler during his years in E20 after she made a move on him, only to discover he was gay.

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Ian Lavender (centre) during his last stint on EastEnders, with Steve McFadden (left) and Wendy Richard (right)

Over the years, he also became a father figure to Martin and the pair are now set to be reunited once more, although Derek’s new storyline will also involve “a number of the residents” of the Square, show bosses promise.

Speaking about his return, Lavender said: “It was a lovely surprise to be back and I had a great time. It was brilliant to work with some old friends again, especially those who I only briefly got to work with before.”

You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of EastEnders below.

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And visit our dedicated EastEnders page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.