Tosin Cole and Bradley Walsh may have left Doctor Who behind, but in their stead the TARDIS team is getting some new blood – Liverpool-born comedian and actor John Bishop, who has been revealed to be joining the BBC sci-fi series as a new companion (called Dan) for the next series.
“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,” Bishop said in a release.
“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 was unveiled in a special teaser at the end of New Year's special Revolution of the Daleks (which you can watch above), and according to the BBC his character Dan will become “embroiled in the Doctor’s adventures” in the now-filming series 13, where he’ll “quickly learn there’s more to the Universe(s) than he could ever believe.”
“Travelling through Space and Time alongside the Doctor and Yaz, he’ll face evil alien races beyond his wildest nightmares,” the BBC concluded.
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“It’s time for the next chapter of Doctor Who, and it starts with a man called Dan,” showrunner Chris Chibnall 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.”
“It’s been a total joy having John join the cast and we’ve been having a lot fun on set already,” added executive producer Matt Strevens. “We can’t wait for you to meet Dan when the show returns later this year.”
Notably, Bishop had already been spotted filming season 13 some weeks ago, though fans had assumed he was playing a one-off guest role in an episode, rather than joining the series full-time as a companion.
To many, the 54-year-old is best known for his acclaimed presenting and comedy career rather than as an actor – however, he has previously had roles in major TV series and films including Skins, Accused, Fearless, Route Irish and Funny Cow.
“We are beyond thrilled to have John Bishop joining Doctor Who,” BBC Drama Controller Piers Wenger said.
“Alongside Jodie Whittaker and Mandip Gill, John is a wonderful addition to the show and we have no doubt that series 13 is going to be another thrilling set of adventures for the Doctor.”
Recently, Bishop also hit the headlines for announcing his positive coronavirus diagnosis, revealing to fans that he’d had the result on Christmas Day and that it was the “worst illness [he’d] ever had.”
However, later Bishop assured fans he’d “be back at work in Jan,” presumably referring to ongoing filming for Doctor Who series 13 which continues in Wales over the next few months.
Altogether, it seems like rather than shrinking, the TARDIS team is ever-evolving and changing. A little like a certain regenerating Time Lord herself...
Doctor Who returns to BBC One in late 2021. Want something else to watch? Check out our full TV Guide.