Doctor Who star admits they turned down companion role ‘I had to say no’

Doctor Who: Bradley Walsh discusses John Bishop's role

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John Bishop is about to board the TARDIS alongside Jodie Whittaker in series 13 of BBC’s hit sci-fi series Doctor Who. But while fans are ecstatic to see what the actor will bring to the show as the Doctor’s new companion, Bishop just revealed the whole thing almost didn’t happen as he initially had to say no to the offer to star on the show. 

In his recent comedy event, An Evening with John Bishop, the Scouse actor revealed he nearly didn’t have time to join the Time Lord. 

He explained how scheduling issues were the reason he almost didn’t join Doctor Who: “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,” continued the actor.

“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.”

But as most tours and events were cancelled due to Covid-19, he took his chance and asked for the role back. 

“Lockdown arrived so I made a phone call and fortunately they had moved their filming dates,” said Bishop. 

“It now fits in perfectly – I’m doing Doctor Who up until July and then I go on the road again in September.”

Fans can expect to see him on screen later this year playing his new character named Dan.

Dan will be added as a second companion to Whittaker’s Doctor, alongside Yasmin Khan (played by Mandip Gill). 

The Doctor’s previous companions, Graham O’Brien (Bradley Walsh) and Ryan Sinclair (Tosin Cole) left the show during the latest special episode Revolution of the Daleks. 

Appearing on The One Show, Walsh gave his blessing to his successor: “Well, actually I have spoken to Bish a few times,” he said of Bishop. 

“Bishy is a pal of mine, and he is going to do fantastically well. Bish is a fine actor.

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Walsh complimented his colleague saying: “He has worked with Ken Loach and everyone, so Bish knows exactly what he is doing.”

The Chase presenter also added: “He is a fine actor and a funny dude.

“I just hope he can get some funny lines in ’cause when you are my age – our age, forgive me – when you are our age on the show you get the chance to do some quirky quips so hopefully he’ll get away with a few of those.”

It’s not known yet whether Bishop will stay on the show for more than one season, but he might end up seeing The Doctor through her next regeneration as Whittaker has been rumoured to be leaving the show at the end of the upcoming series. 

There haven’t been any official announcements from the showrunners or the BBC in regard to Whittaker’s replacement, but many actors’ names keep coming back. 

Kris Marshall, Michaela Coel, Richard Ayoade and Michael Sheen are all in the running to be the 14th Doctor. 

However, some fans believe the new Doctor was already announced in a previous episode, which saw Jo Martin as the Fugitive Doctor. 

This elusive character is believed to be a regeneration of the Doctor from her future, though this might come sooner than expected. 

Doctor Who will return to BBC One later in the year.

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