Ian Lavender attended Bournville Technical College in the West Midlands and then studied at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. He graduated in 1967. Acting on the stage at Canterbury followed and his first television work was the ATV play "Flowers At My Feet" in 1968. He then became the youngest cast member of Dad's Army (1968), working with veterans Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier and John Laurie.
Much of Lavender's subsequent television work came in the form of comedy roles. He is also an accomplished stage actor though, having performed in repertory and at the West End. He loves cricket, golf and gardening.