Colin Bean as Private Sponge in Dad's Army
|Died||20 June 2009 (aged 83)|
Wigan, Greater Manchester, England
Born in Wigan, Lancashire, Bean's father played football for local side Wigan Borough, 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 role in Dad's Army started off relatively small but grew as the series progressed, in 1997 he said 'by the time of The Miser's Hoard I'd ended up on the front row of the platoon, it was a lovely feeling. Instead of peering and smirking over Jones' shoulder, I was on the front line. It was very satisfying.' His TV appearances were varied, including Z-Cars, The Gnomes of Dulwich, The Liver Birds, 13 episodes of Michael Bentine Time,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 later 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. He continued to live in the Scholes area of his native Wigan until his death, aged 83, in Wigan Infirmary, on 20 June 2009.
|1955||Red Riding Hood||King Wolf||TV film|
|1961||Richard the Lionheart||Yeoman||Episode: School for a King|
|1963||Z Cars||Mr Cowpe||Episode: Members Only|
|1966||No Hiding Place||Det Sgt Parsons||Episode: It Isn't Just The Money...|
|1968-77||Dad's Army||Private Sponge||Recurring role in 76 episodes|
|1969||The Gnomes of Dulwich||Verious roles||3 episodes|
|1969||Gold robbers||Prison Imate||Episode: Dog eat Dog|
|1969||Harry Worth Show||Policeman|
|1969||The First Churchills||Lord Russell||2 episodes|
|1969||Broaden Your Mind||Various roles||3 episodes|
|1971||Now Take My Wife||Dirty Macintosh Man|
|1971-72||The Liver Birds||First speaker/Police constable||2 episodes|
|1972||His Lordship Entertains||Episode: The Safari Park|
|1972||Scott on Language||Indian Chief|
|1973||Elementary My Dear Watson||Aged newseller|
|1973||Michael Bentine Time||Various roles||13 episodes|
|1973||Are You Being Served?||Leatherette Gloves|
|1976-78||Potter's Picture Palace||Vicar||3 episodes|
|1976||Fallen Hero||Loud Supporter|
|1981||Ladykillers||Clerk of Court||Episode: A Smile is Sometimes Worth a Million Dollars|
|Cribb||Police constable||Episode: Invitation to a Dynamite Party|
|1983||Crown Court||Foreman of the Jury|
|1985||Good as Gold||His Worship the Mayor|
|1986||Jossy's Giants||Episode: The Siege of St James'|