Dad's Army Wiki
Colin Bean
Born 15th April 1926
Died 20th June 2009 (aged 83)
First appearance The Man and the Hour
Last appearance Never Too Old
Series 1 - 9
Episode count 76

Colin Bean (15th April 1926 – 20th June 2009) played Private Sponge in Dad's Army.


Early life and career[]

Colin Bean was born in Wigan, Lancashire, 1926.

Early acting career[]

Colin wanted to be actor ever since his childhood and at an early age became a shepard in a nativity play. After leaving Wigan Grammar School in 1944, he gained some experience in the acting profession, before being called up for four years in the army. Whilst serving in Japan, he did some part-time acting with the BCOF. He graduated from drama school in 1952 and after teaching there a year, he became the assistant stage manager at Sheffield Rep.

Colin mainly stuck to the theatre early on in his career. He spent fours at the Court Players and then five with the Victor Graham Players. In 1961, he started television work as a yeoman in Richard the Lionheart.

Dad's Army[]

Private Sponge

Colin Bean as Private Sponge in Dad's Army"

Colin first came to be a member of the platoon in Dad's Army through Jimmy Perry after working for him and his wife at the Palace Theatre of Watford since 1961. At first he was just a background character for the rear ranks behind Clive Dunn, John Laurie, James Beck, Arnold Ridley and Ian Lavender, but whilst on the set one day, the production crew thought his puffing and panting made him look a bit like a sponge, so he became the more recurring character of Private Sponge during Series 2.

Coling has appeared in almost every episode of the television series except for The Day the Balloon Went Up, War Dance, Menace from the Deep, Sons of the Sea and The Making of Private Pike. His character was going to appear in War Dance with his wife, but for some unknown reason this never happened. He also appeared in the Christmas Night with the Stars sketch, The Cornish Floral Dance.

Other acting work and later career[]

Colin also appeared in one episode of David Croft's other sitcoms, Are You Being Served? and Hi-de-Hi!. After the latter, he became crippled and confined to a wheel chair with arthritis, so he mainly stuck to radio work.

A Christmas Stocking recorded live at the history shop,Wigan in November 2002. A seasonal sound package,with its contents chosen packed and delivered by Colin Bean. Audio design by John Rowbotham for Making Waves Group. Only a few copies of this rare recording exist.

Final years and death[]

In June 20th 2009, Colin Bean died at the age of 83 in the Infirmary of his birthplace.