How Doctor Who Landed John Bishop As A New Companion After He Turned It Down

John Bishop Doctor Who BBC America

Doctor Who will be getting a new companion in Season 13, though it's recently come to light that wasn't always a sure thing. Actor and comedian John Bishop, whose Dan will join The Doctor and Yaz after Ryan and Graham's recent departure, wasn't actually going to take the role on the BBC America series until fate allowed for him to decide otherwise.

John Bishop spoke about his recent casting during a Zoom event called An Evening with John Bishop (via CultBox) and revealed that while he was interested in Doctor Who, he had to reject Chris Chibnall's original offer to join the show. Obviously, things changed, which the actor broke down in the quote below.

I met [showrunner] Chris Chibnall and he had this idea, and this character. He’d seen me in a few things, and he wanted to know if I’d be interested in Doctor Who. I was flattered but the problem was I was on tour when they were meant to be filming. So although I fancied it, I had to say no. And then the whole COVID thing happened! Lockdown arrived so I made a phone call and fortunately they had moved their filming dates. It now fits in perfectly – I’m doing Doctor Who up until July and then I go on the road again in September.

While Doctor Who's production delays will likely prevent Season 13 from being seen by fans as soon as originally intended, it also allowed for John Bishop to join the series. It's worth noting that Chris Chibnall actively pursued Bishop for the role of the companion Dan, so one would imagine we're getting the ultimate vision of what the showrunner had in mind for the role.

Of course, just because Doctor Who wanted John Bishop, that didn't mean he just got the gig after committing. Bishop explained that he still had to audition for the role and even fly to Cardiff to read scenes with Jodie Whittaker. It's not too surprising to hear the series felt it necessary to go the extra steps, as good chemistry between the Doctor and companions is vital to the show.

Season 13 is set to be an exciting season of Doctor Who after Season 12 retconned a massive part of the Doctor's origin in claiming she's not from Gallifrey and has far more regenerations than previously thought. The season is also rumored to be Jodie Whittaker's last season, which would mean a new Doctor taking over should BBC America choose to bring it back for Season 14. Given all that plus John Bishop's appearance, now may be the best time for fans who have stepped away briefly to consider catching up for what could be a whirlwind season.

Those looking to binge the modern run of Doctor Who have the perfect opportunity to do so if they have HBO Max. Those that aren't really sure where to start can start by visiting our best episode list to revisit the best the franchise has to offer.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.