Doctor Who newcomer John Bishop can't wait to start telling jokes about time travel show
- TV Show
New Doctor Who cast member John Bishop is best known in his native England as a stand-up comedian and Bishop admits that he is excited to start talking about the show as part of his set.
"Can you imagine, as a comedian, being in Doctor Who and then being able to talk about it on tour?" Bishop, who plays a character called Dan on the time travel series, tells EW. "It's a gift. I can't talk about Doctor Who until it comes out. When the first episode comes out, and I watch it, then I'll go onstage and talk about it and I'll see what jokes happen."
Below, Bishop talks with EW about his role on the show, how he got the part, and his history with Who.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How were you approached about the role?
JOHN BISHOP: Chris Chibnall [Doctor Who executive producer] approached me maybe two years ago. He said he had this character that he was developing who was going to be from Liverpool and every time he was writing it he just kept on thinking that I would be right for it. I couldn't do it, because I was going on a stand-up tour and so we left it. The global pandemic meant that the tour ended and I could say yes to the opportunity. And fortunately, they hadn't cast anybody. I feel very lucky to have been able to do it.
What was the audition process like? Did anyone pretend to be a Dalek to see how you reacted
The first part of the audition I was in London. Normally I'd have been in a room with people, but nobody was being in rooms with people, so I got my mobile phone and I [stuck] it to the wall and I did an audition to my phone with the casting director and Chris and a few other people on the line. What they don't know is, the script that I had to learn, I'd [stuck] that to the wall as well. I got through that stage and then I had to go down to Cardiff and do an audition on the set with Jodie (Whittaker). So I had to go on to the TARDIS and do a number of scenes. The thing is, when I walked on to the TARDIS to do the audition, I couldn't tell anyone I was going there, I couldn't have a photograph. When I got the job, the first thing I did was get a photograph of me on the TARDIS for myself.
What's your history with Doctor Who?
I watched it as a child; Jon Pertwee moving in to Tom Baker, that was my Doctor. And then, teenage years, I went off it a bit. It came back with the reboot and then I watched it because I had kids of my own. And it was great. The reboot gave it new energy. I watched some of the old episodes recently, as I was taking on the part, and the themes are the same, but obviously the scale and the production values are so much higher now.
What can you tell us about your character?
Basically, that he's a nice guy, but he's a little bit down on his luck. He's unlucky in love. He would have no ambition to be anywhere else apart from where he lives, which is in Liverpool, until a turn of events means that he ends up meeting the Doctor (Whittaker) and Yaz (Mandip Gill). He ends up with the closest friends that he's probably ever had in his life.
Is there any sexual tension between your character and the Doctor?
[Laughs] Uh, no! There isn't, for reasons that you'll see when you watch it.
Did Jodie give you any advice?
She was a guiding hand: You don't need to do that, just do this. She was very supportive and kind. There's just something about her. The success that she's got, she deserves, but when you see her working close-up, honest to god, she's absolutely brilliant. You can be chatting with her and then they go, "Okay, and now let's do the rehearsal," and she's just foof! You go, whoah, you're not the person I was talking to twenty seconds ago. Honestly, she's really exceptional and hopefully she'll go on and do loads and loads of other stuff, which I'm sure she will, because she won't be short of offers.
You've just finished shooting the season, is that right?
Literally, the day before yesterday.
Was that emotional for you?
It was. It was. But I'm going straight on to doing a stand-up tour. I think, for me, it will feel emotional when the first episode goes out, when I actually see it.
Doctor Who premieres on BBC America, Oct. 31. Watch the new season trailer below.
Sign up for Entertainment Weekly's free daily newsletter to get breaking TV news, exclusive first looks, recaps, reviews, interviews with your favorite stars, and more.