Doctor Who may have said goodbye to two of the Thirteenth’s companions in the most recent New Year’s special episode, “Revolution of the Daleks,” but the infinite dimensions of the TARDIS will not remain empty for long, as the BBC has announced that comedian/actor John Bishop will be joining the series next season.
Some Whovians would argue that the role of the Doctor’s companions, their respective narrative arcs, and most importantly, their chemistry with the titular character is one of the most important aspects that contribute to the continued popularity of the sci-fi series. After all, the Last of the Time Lords is a solitary being of immense power from another planet, and at the end of the day, what keeps them feeling grounded and relatable as a character are the humble human companions who share in this journey across time and space.
Alas, Whittaker’s 13th has failed to take advantage of this particular trope. Though now, showrunner Chris Chibnall is seeking to rectify the mistake of overcrowding the TARDIS by keeping the Doctor company with a maximum of two companions. And the newest addition, a character named Dan played by John Bishop, will come aboard in the upcoming run.
Speaking with Doctor Who Magazine, here’s what the writer had to say about the comedian’s debut on the show:
“I’ve always got my eye out for performers who are loved, and wondering how good they might be as actors,” Chibnall explained. “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.”
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The EP also promised that Bishop will bring a “different flavor” to Who, saying:
“As ever on Doctor Who, we put him through a rigorous multi-session audition process, which he engaged with brilliantly and humbly. 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.”
It’s not that Graham or Ryan were terrible characters, mind you, but the series’ runtime never allowed them to steal the spotlight as companions often do in Doctor Who. Fingers crossed, then, that’ll soon change with Bishop, and we’ll once again see the witty banter between the Doctor and her fellow travelers that the show had inadvertently tossed aside over the past two seasons.