Video | Thursday, 25th July 2019

Comedian John Bishop receives honorary degree from Manchester Metropolitan

University alumnus recognised for his contribution to comedy, arts and charity

Comedian John Bishop has been awarded an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree by Manchester Metropolitan University for his significant contribution to comedy, arts and charitable work.

Bishop was presented with the honorary degree today (July 25) in Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall as the University’s 2019 graduation ceremonies came to a close.

True to form, the comedian drew laughs from graduates and their families during his acceptance speech, which also reflected on his time as a student at Manchester Metropolitan, including meeting his future wife in the University’s library.

He told graduates: “Thank you for allowing me to become part of your day, I sat in that seat and watched some of you walk on the stage and you could see the nervousness, the apprehension, the joy and the pride that was in your faces.

“Thirty years ago this summer I was receiving the same welcome onto a stage. I rented a robe, I rented a hat, and I walked across for 25 seconds and picked up a piece of paper that I had worked three years for.

“But it wasn’t three years – it was a lifetime up to then. I was the first one in my family to go to University and I went like many of you because I didn’t know what I wanted beyond it, but I knew it was a pathway to somewhere better than where I was starting from.”

Comedian and University alumnus John Bishop with his honorary degree

Bishop, who is originally from Liverpool and later lived in Manchester, joked: “And it did lead to many things, it led to the girl I met in the library that I married, it led me to have three sons who are all Mancs – you can’t get everything right but that was the closest hospital.

“And it led to a life that I could not have imagined.”

He added: “You can’t change everything but you can change your world and the path that you have chosen through education is the best way of doing it.

“Go out there, grab the world and be the best version of you.”

Bishop graduated from the then Manchester Polytechnic with a BA (Hons) in Social Science in 1989, and worked as a pharmaceutical sales representative prior to becoming a stand-up comedian.

Also a talented footballer, Bishop first performed stand-up comedy in Manchester, picking up several awards as his comedy career progressed. In 2010, Bishop won the Best Male Comedy Breakthrough Artist award at the British Comedy Awards.

TV star 

Bishop’s career took off and he appeared on TV shows such as E4 teen drama Skins and in the Ken Loach film Route Irish. He has appeared on comedy panel shows such as Sky One’s A League of Their Own, and BBC’s Mock the Week and QI, as well as his own shows, including John Bishop's Britain, John Bishop's Only Joking, The John Bishop Show and John Bishop: In Conversation With.

Bishop also has several DVDs of his shows and sell-out performances at arenas across the country.

Bishop is also known for his philanthropic work, including a five-day triathlon from Paris to London which raised millions of pounds for BBC charity Sport Relief. He has also competed in numerous charity football matches including Soccer Aid for Unicef in 2012, 2014 and 2016.

Poet Professor Michael Symmons Roberts, who presented Bishop with the honorary degree, created a light-hearted poem to congratulate John and mark the occasion.

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