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TV star recovers from heart operation

PUBLISHED: 07:57 26 July 2004 | UPDATED: 18:05 24 February 2010

By Benedict O'Connor

ONE of the nation's best-loved actors is recovering at home today after suffering a reaction to a routine heart procedure.

Ian Lavender, loved by millions for his portrayal of the hapless Private Pike in classic comedy Dad's Army and more recently for his role as Derek in EastEnders, is resting after the operation that followed a recent heart attack.

By Benedict O'Connor

ONE of the nation's best-loved actors is recovering at home today after suffering a reaction to a routine heart procedure.

Ian Lavender, loved by millions for his portrayal of the hapless Private Pike in classic comedy Dad's Army and more recently for his role as Derek in EastEnders, is resting after the operation that followed a recent heart attack.

His wife Michele, speaking from the home the couple share near Stowmarket, said reports her 58-year-old husband had undergone a dramatic life-saving rush to Papworth Hospital, Cambridge, had been "blown out of all proportion".

She added Mr Lavender had previously suffered a heart attack and had been admitted to hospotal for a planned procedure that was a routine check for the victims of heart attacks.

"He's fine, absolutely fine. He had to have a procedure, that was on the cards anyway, but it was nothing unexpected, it was simply that a bed came up," said Mrs Lavender.

She explained her husband had suffered a heart attack weeks ago and had initially been at the hospital for an angiogram, a process in which coloured dye is injected into blood vessels, which in turn shows up on an x-ray to give a picture of any damage to arteries caused by a heart attack.

Mrs Lavender said her husband had suffered a reaction to that procedure, which prompted angioplasty, in which a small balloon is inserted into an artery via a tube and gently inflated to widen the artery.

He was initially treated at West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds, and was transferred to Papworth Hospital, where his heart specialist is based.

She added Mr Lavender had now returned home and was in good health, but would need a rest after the procedure before returning to work on EastEnders.

Mr Lavender, who has two sons from a previous marriage, survived a battle with cancer 10 years ago and makes regular appearances in the region to support health-related charities.

His association with East Anglia goes back to his Dad's Army days as the 80 episodes of the comedy classic, which was filmed between 1968 and 1977, was shot in the Thetford area.

While filming Mr Lavender developed a fondness for the area, but it was not until three years ago that the couple moved to Suffolk, having previously lived in Saffron Walden.

benedict.o'connor@eadt.co.uk

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