Doctor Who's New Year's special was bittersweet in that the show's brief return came at a cost. The sci-fi series wrote off Ryan and Graham, bringing the remaining companions to Jodie Whittaker's Doctor down to one. Luckily, Yaz and The Doctor won't have the TARDIS for long, as the special teased a new companion by the name of Dan, played by John Bishop.
Bishop may be a name well-known to UK audiences, but the celebrity may not be as well known for American Doctor Who fans. One could do some research into that body of work, check out some of his appearances on Skins or other television, or read a recent interview with Doctor Who Magazine (via Radio Times) about what Chris Chibnall loves about John Bishop:
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 flavor and a different humor to the show. We’re loving him in the rushes, and having him as part of the production.
John Bishop joins Doctor Who in the role of Dan, a character only seen briefly loading stuff out of a van at the end of the New Year's special. As far as we know, Dan has not met The Doctor or Yaz, so it'll be interesting to see how his story figures into Doctor Who's future after Season 12 already changed so much. Season 12 ended with The Doctor being told she's not actually from Gallifrey and may have many more regenerations than she previously thought.
Whether or not John Bishop's Dan figures into that situation is unknown, but one thing that is known is that Chris Chibnall is high on Bishop as an actor. The showrunner continued how much he liked Bishop and even compared him to some other iconic actors:
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. 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.
John Bishop will attempt to fill the shoes of actors Tosin Cole and Bradley Walsh, who played Ryan and Graham for the past two seasons. Their departure breaks up the core group that kicked off Jodie Whittaker's run as The Doctor. It will be interesting to see how Bishop's Dan works with the group and how fans will respond to the new dynamic that comes with it.