; Date: Mon Apr 19 2021
At the end of Revolution of the Daleks it was revealed that two of The Doctor's companions were leaving the show, and that a new Companion would join it. That new companion, Dan, will be played by British comedian John Bishop. Apparently Bishop is not willing to develop the ability to act in other accents than his native Liverpool accent, and you'd think revealing that his character in Doctor Who will be based in Liverpool would not be controversial. But, that would be underestimating the BBC's ability to not be amused.
Change is the nature of Doctor Who, since the only way it could possibly have stayed fresh for the last 60 years is to always be willing to change (almost) anything. While the last TARDIS crew brought a lot to the show, the actors who played Graham and Ryan, respectively Bradley Walsh and Tosin Cole, wanted to move on. We wrote about this earlier in:
As an American, I don't know much about John Bishop. I gather he's a popular comedian and actor in Great Britain. His presence in the few things I've seen him in is refreshing, so he should be a great addition to Doctor Who. Well, that's so long as the show runners don't veer off into non-stop comedy. While Doctor Who often has jokes and gags, such as when Doctor#11 met Rory the Roman, and in dead-pan asked him "Rory, I thought you were dead". But the jokes in Doctor Who were always there to relieve tension. Obviously all those tense moments facing down Daleks or whatever is what makes Doctor Who tick, but the viewers often need a moment of humor to even things out.
Great Britain is well known to have lots of regional accents and dialects, thanks to its overly complex history. Therefore, most British actors develop an ability to speak and act in several of the regional dialects. For example, I understand that David Tenant's native accent is a very thick Scottish Brogue. But he played The Doctor with an accent much closer to the standardized sanitized British Accent.
Christopher Eccleston not only played The Doctor using his native "North Accent", which led to a quip in the show. Rose said that Jackie (Rose's mum) was confused why The Doctor sounded like he's from The North, to which Eccleston's Doctor replied "Lots of planets have a North".
Therefore there was understandably a question of whether John Bishop's character would be "from" Liverpool, or what. His appearance on The Graham Norton Show a couple days ago put that question to rest.
Because John Bishop claims he is unable to act with any other accent than his native Liverpoolian, his character Dan will be from Liverpool.
Is anybody surprised? Apparently, the BBC thought this was a great big secret.
It strikes me as likely that The Judoon, or for that matter the Vogons from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, might be a parody of BBC Officialdom. As you read the following, keep that possibility in mind.
That factoid ("Dan" will be "from" Liverpool) led John Bishop to commit what the BBC described as a Cardinal Sin. On The Graham Norton Show Bishop described having done a Zoom Call with a group of acting students in Liverpool. One of the students asked him where his Doctor Who character, Dan, would be from. The way Bishop put it on the Graham Norton show was:
"I went: 'Well, where do you think he comes from? Have a guess!' You know what I mean, I'm not Tom Cruise. I can act as long as the character happens to look and sound a lot like me..."
In other words, he told the acting students to put 2+2 together, and come to the conclusion that Dan would be from Liverpool. Then this got out into the fandom press, with fans developing theories about the upcoming season, and eventually the BBC contacted Bishop. As he put it:
"Then the BBC phoned me up and said: 'You've broke the cardinal sin. You've told them something about Doctor Who...' and I went, 'I haven't told them anything! Anybody who looks at me knows he's from Liverpool, let's be honest!'"
Hey, BBC, calm down.