Doctor Who Series 13: Chris Chibnall Discusses John Bishop's Dan

With production on Series 13 of the BBC's long-running sci-fi adventure series Doctor Who already underway, the show is heading into a return riddled with change. Gone are Bradley Walsh and Tosin Cole, having left the show after "Revolution of the Daleks," with the abbreviated eight-episode new series seeing Yaz (Mandip Gill) returning with Jodie Whittaker's Doctor to the TARDIS (with rumors of Whittaker leaving after Series 13 buzzing around social media). 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. During a recent interview with Doctor Who Magazine, showrunner Chris Chibnall discussed the "different flavour" and "different humour" that Bishop brings to the show.

Doctor Who
(Image: BBC Studios)

Emphasizing that Dan will very quickly become involved in the Doctor and Yaz's adventures and gain a quick understanding of just how massive time and space is, Chibnall explained why Bishop was the right choice for Dan. "I've always got my eye out for performers who are loved, and wondering how good they might be as actors. There's such a great history of performers who start out as comedians transitioning into becoming terrific actors – the best example being Robbie Coltrane in 'Cracker'," said Chibnall. "John's somebody I've been keeping a beady eye on for years. "He's quietly built up a body of work, through working with people like Jimmy McGovern and Ken Loach, while also doing a dozen other things like stand-up, autobiography, interview shows, podcasts, and travel documentaries."

That said, as familiar as viewers may be with Bishop based on his past projects? The actor was still required to audition for the role. "As ever on 'Doctor Who,' we put him through a rigorous multi-session audition process, which he engaged with brilliantly and humbly,' the showrunner revealed. "John and his character bring a different flavour and a different humour to the show. We're loving him in the rushes, and having him as part of the production."

Chibnall and the team are already hard at work on Series 13 production, revealing last month, "We're filming as we speak. We've got lots of new characters, new monsters, some old ones coming back. We're only a few weeks in. It's very different, but we obviously have to work in a very different way, under COVID protocols. So, it's not without its challenges, but every series of 'Doctor Who' has had its challenges. At the moment, everybody's smiling." Now for the question that we're sure he's going to hear a lot over the next several months: so when will viewers be able to see it? Surprisingly, it sounds like Chibnall does know- it's just that there are some "higher powers" out there who would prefer he stay quiet for now. "Yeah, I've got an idea," Chibnall answered with a laugh. "But Charlotte Moore (BBC Chief Content Officer) would send 'the boys' round if I told you any hints. As soon as finish it, I promise we'll put it on telly straight away."

Doctor Who
(Image: BBC)

And even though their "Revolution" may be over (for now), is there any possibility of seeing the domed big-bads make a return in Series 13? Chibnall wouldn't say one way or another- but he did confirm that some familiar faces of the monster persuasion will be making their returns. "Yes, more monsters are coming back. There are ones who've appeared over the past 15 years that are deserving of another visit in the next series. In fact, they're probably formulating their plans as we speak…"

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.

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