Ian’s trip from Dad’s Army to Sister Act

SUFFOLK: Actor Ian Lavender, based in the county, thought he had seen it all during his illustrious career on screen and stage.

But that was until the 64-year-old encountered “whirlwind” legendary actress Whoopi Goldberg, who has just joined him in the musical Sister Act at the London Palladium.

Mr Lavender, who is fondly remembered for playing the dim-witted Pike in cult TV comedy Dad’s Army, has been treading the boards as Monsignor Howard in the hit show for the past two months.

Whoopi Goldberg, who starred in the film version of the show, joined the cast on Monday and took to the stage as Mother Superior later that night. She will perform and work as a producer until August 31.

The 54-year-old New Yorker was given a standing ovation as she stepped out and Mr Lavender said he and the cast have been bowled over by her.


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Mr Lavender, who lives in Woolpit, said: “She is an absolute pleasure, both on and off the stage. A real whirlwind of a woman!

“Since she arrived in London she simply hasn’t stopped, which is incredible considering how much work she’s had to do.

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“Whatever drug she’s on I think I could do with having! But, joking aside, we’re all enjoying her company.

“I think the cast were a little nervous before she arrived. We didn’t really know what to expect from her.

“But she’s very down to earth. She even plays little tricks on me, like changing lines in the script at the last minute. But I like that – it’s good to be kept on your toes!”

Mr Lavender added that he had really enjoyed his time in the musical which runs until October.

He added: “I still get a buzz going on stage especially when you get to perform alongside Hollywood stars.

“And remarkably I still get recognised in the street even though I’ve had to grow a beard for the part!”

Evening Star Editor Nigel Pickover who saw the show on Monday said: “Ian and Whoopi have definitely still got it. They both have that star quality - it’s a must see!”

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