Colin Bean

Colin Bean (15 April 1926 – 20 June 2009)[1] was an English actor, best known for his role as Private Sponge in the BBC comedy series Dad's Army.

Colin Bean
Colin Bean as Private Sponge in Dad's Army
Born(1926-04-15)15 April 1926
Died20 June 2009(2009-06-20) (aged 83)
Wigan, Greater Manchester, England
OccupationActor, author
Years active1963–1988

Early life

Born in Wigan, Lancashire, Bean's father played football for local side Wigan Borough,[2] and he attended Wigan Grammar School. Bean's first appearance had been as a shepherd in a school play, and much against paternal intentions, he took up acting professionally until being called up for national service. He served for four years in the British Army after World War II, spending some time in Japan, and taking the opportunity to continue his acting by joining the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF). After graduating from drama school in 1952, he joined the Sheffield Rep as assistant stage manager; regular theatre work followed.


His work in Dad's Army came as a result of working at Watford Rep in 1962 under series co-writer Jimmy Perry as the company's actor-manager, in addition to almost 20 years of playing a pantomime dame. His TV appearances were varied, including Z-Cars, The Gnomes of Dulwich, The Liver Birds, 13 episodes of Michael Bentine Time,[3] Are You Being Served?, and the penultimate episode of Hi-de-Hi! (1988).

Due to his arthritis, in his later years he concentrated on his radio work. He wrote his autobiography, Who Do You Think You Are Kidding!, which was published in 1998 and went into two editions.

Though using a wheelchair in his latter years, he continued to make sporadic appearances on stage in the North West of England discussing his long acting career. He was also a regular at Dad's Army reunions.[4] He continued to live in the Scholes area of his native Wigan until his death. He died aged 83, in Wigan Infirmary, on 20 June 2009.[5]



1963Z CarsMr CowpeEpisode: Members Only
1964The First ChurchillsLord Russell2 episodes
1968-77Dad's ArmyPrivate SpongeRecurring role in 76 episodes[6]
1969Broaden Your MindVarious roles3 episodes
1971-72The Liver BirdsFirst speaker/Police constable2 episodes
1972His Lordship EntertainsEpisode: The Safari Park
1981 LadykillersClerk of CourtEpisode: A Smile is Sometimes Worth a Million Dollars
CribbPolice constableEpisode: Invitation to a Dynamite Party
1986Jossy's GiantsEpisode: The Siege of St James'


  1. "Colin Bean: Actor best known for playing Private Sponge in 'Dad's Army'". The Independent. London. 29 June 2009. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  3. "OtherCharacters". Retrieved 2012-12-29.
  4. Pearce, James. "Colin Bean : Obituary - ThisIsAnnouncements". Archived from the original on September 4, 2009. Retrieved 2012-12-29.
  5. "Dad's Army actor Colin Bean dies, 82". 2009-06-22. Retrieved 2009-06-22.
  6. The Independent obituary.
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