John Bishop: who is comedian’s deaf son Joe Bishop, how old is he - when is documentary Life After Deaf on TV?

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John Bishop presents the ITV sign language documentary Life After Deaf as he and his son learn more about the Deaf community

Comedian John Bishop and his son Joe will learn more about the Deaf community as John sets himself a challenge to deliver a stand-up set in sign language.

John’s eldest son Joe is partially deaf and the family have spent years trying to find ways to reverse the effects of his hearing condition without success. The ITV documentary will see father and son learn more about deafness together as John undertakes his latest comedy challenge.

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John Bishop and his son JoeJohn Bishop and his son Joe
John Bishop and his son Joe | ITV

Who is John Bishop?

John Bishop is a 55 year old comedian from Liverpool known for his stand-up shows and regular appearances on British panel shows. John studied Social Science at Manchester Polytechnic and worked as a  medical representative at Syntex before leaving the job to pursue a career in comedy at the age of 40.

He has appeared on Mock The Week, 8 Out of 10 Cats, Would I Lie to You?, Have I Got News for You, A League of Their Own, and The Last Leg. He has also The John Bishop Show, Back of the Net, The Nightly Show, Only Joking and the podcast series Three Little Words. John’s acting roles include playing Rob Fitch in Skins, Peter Cartwright in Accused, and Dan Lewis in Doctor Who.

He has also been heavily involved in charity work - in 1992 before he was famous he raised £30,000 for the NSPCC by cycling from Australia back home to Liverpool. In 2012, he cycled from the Eiffel Tower in Paris to Trafalgar Square, London over five days, raising more than £4 million for Sport Relief.

John married his wife Melanie in 1993 and the couple have three children together - Joe, Luke, and Daniel. John is a vegetarian and says that he has not eaten meat since the 1980s.

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John’s wife Melanie with their son Joe watching John Bishop perform a gig in British Sign LanguagJohn’s wife Melanie with their son Joe watching John Bishop perform a gig in British Sign Languag
John’s wife Melanie with their son Joe watching John Bishop perform a gig in British Sign Languag | ITV

Who is Joe Bishop?

Joe Bishop, aged 28, is John and Melanie Bishop’s oldest child. Joe is gay, and John has previously said: “Having a gay son is just like having a son. Of the top ten things that I even think about him, being gay isn’t even on there. He’s just another son."

Joe has an autoimmune condition that causes progressive deafness and he is now partially deaf and is likely to become fully deaf in later life. He contracted a virus that caused the condition and caused him to lose most of his hearing when he was just 15 years old.

John spent more than 10 years trying to fix his son’s hearing but the family have come to the realisation that this may not be possible.

What is Life After Deaf about?

John and Joe Bishop: Life After Deaf follows John and his son as they set out to learn more about the Deaf community. John has challenged himself to deliver a stand-up set to a deaf audience entirely in sign language.

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Before embarking on the task, John did not know British Sign Language and had to master it and an entirely new style of comedic delivery before the gig. The documentary will also explore the difficulties that Joe and his family have faced in dealing with his illness.

When is Life After Death on TV?

The one-off special documentary will air on ITV on Thursday 22 September at 9pm. The episode will be available to watch on the ITV Hub shortly after it is first broadcast.

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