Doctor Who concluded its New Year's Day special, "Revolution of the Daleks," by saying goodbye to two companions and announcing that John Bishop will play new companion Dan in the upcoming thirteenth season. Bishop is a comedian known for several shows bearing his name, including The John Bishop Show, John Bishop's Britain, and John Bishop: In Conversation With…. Speaking to Doctor Who Magazine, Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall discussed how Bishop's inclusion in the new season brings a different tone to the show, saying that Bishop's sense of humor brings a different "flavor" to the BBC's long-running sci-fi television series.
"I've always got my eye out for performers who are loved, and wondering how good they might be as actors," Chibnall says (via Radio Times). "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. 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."
But Chibnall being a fan doesn't mean that Bishop got fast-tracked into the show. He still had to audition like anyone else.
"As ever on Doctor Who, we put him through a rigorous multi-session audition process, which he engaged with brilliantly and humbly," Chibnall said. "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."
After his casting was announced, Bishop said of joining Doctor Who, "If I could tell my younger self that one day I would be asked to step on board the TARDIS, I would never have believed it. It's an absolute dream come true to be joining Doctor Who and I couldn't wish for better company than Jodie and Mandip."
Bishop will enter the TARDIS in Doctor Who Season 13, joining Jodie Whittaker, continuing as the Thirteenth Doctor (for at least one more season), and Mandip Gill as returning companion Yasmin Khan. Chibnall has called Dan's introduction the beginning of a new chapter for Doctor Who.
"It's time for the next chapter of Doctor Who, and it starts with a man called Dan," he said. "Oh, we've had to keep this one secret for a long, long time. Our conversations started with John even before the pandemic hit. The character of Dan was built for him, and it's a joy to have him aboard the TARDIS."