Doctor Who: How COVID Helped John Bishop Join Jodie Whittaker's TARDIS

By now, Doctor Who fans already know that Series 13 will be one of change for the long-running BBC series. Gone are Bradley Walsh and Tosin Cole, having left the show with "Revolution of the Daleks" at the start of the new year- with the upcoming abbreviated eight-episode series seeing Yaz (Mandip Gill) returning with Jodie Whittaker's Doctor to the TARDIS (with rumors of Whittaker leaving after Series 13 still buzzing around). But Whittaker and Gill won't be in the TARDIS alone, with "Revolution" introducing new companion Dan (John Bishop) during the final moments of the holiday special. Previously, fans had heard what showrunner Chris Chibnall had to say about the "different flavour" and "different humour" Bishop brings to the show. Now, Bishop is opening up about the role- one that he originally turned down until COVID inspired him to reconsider.

Doctor Who introduced John Bishop for Series 13. (Image: BBC Studios)
(Image: BBC Studios)

During the Zoom event, An Evening with John Bishop, the comedian/actor revealed that he originally turned down the role. " I met [writer] Chris Chibnall and he had this idea and this character. He'd seen me in a few things, and he wanted to know if I'd be interested in 'Doctor Who.' I was flattered but the problem was I was on tour when they were meant to be filming. So although I fancied it, I had to say no," Bishop explained. "And then the whole COVID thing happened! Lockdown arrived so I made a phone call and fortunately they had moved their filming dates. It now fits in perfectly – I'm doing 'Doctor Who' up until July and then I go on the road again in September."

Though Chibnall had Bishop in kind for the role, that didn't mean he didn't have to go through the audition process. "I had to do the various audition calls and all that. Then I had to go down to Cardiff and do the audition with Jodie [Whittaker] and I thought, 'Oh see, this is serious,' he explained. For his part, the actor wasn't sure at first that the role was a direction he wanted his career to go in. "I didn't want to do comedic acting because I don't think I am very good at it. Some people are brilliant at being comedy actors and if you're a comedian I think there's a perception that, if you're acting at something that's meant to be funny, it will be funny all the way through and you'll be dropping in gags," he said- before acknowledging with a laugh, "I want to do straight, dramatic acting so I do a hit show when you get chased by aliens!"

About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.