John Bishop’s long reign as Britain’s favourite Liverpudlian stand-up comedian shows no sign of winding down anytime soon.

Playing Dan in Dr Who on TV has introduced him to a whole new audience – at least from those people who are still watching it And he is also a relentlessly ubiquitous presence on the small screen with a seemingly endless list of shows named after him; John Bishop’s Britain/Australia/Ireland/Only Joking/Gorilla Adventure/In Conversation/Show/Christmas Show.

At least there’s no chance we’ll forget his name.

But what about the bread and butter for any stand-up, the endless touring?

Here, we have him on his Work in Progress 2021 tour which runs until early February and then morphs into the Right Here Right Now tour playing larger arena venues until April before heading to Europe.

Covid, of course, has played havoc with dates with shows cancelled and tours running into tours Suffice to say he’s a busy boy again and, not unnaturally, is taking every chance that comes his way, as would any former salesman and semi-pro footballer. And it’s impossible not to like the man who in 2013 was dubbed one of the sexiest vegetarians of the year.

So here he was, looking rather portly, ambling on to a set consisting of a table and stool and immediately settling into what was, in essence, a long, one-sided conversation with an engaged audience.

Very much an observational comedian, he doesn’t tell jokes as such, but wrings humour out of his life and everyday situations, like the funniest bloke down the pub where it costs around 40 quid to get in.

His one joke, supplied by a mate, about yet another TV series, this one called John Bishop’s Great Whale Rescue, necessitating him ‘spending six weeks in Rhyl’, fell completely flat. I liked it.

Another segment unlikely to make the cut for future arena shows was his Boris Johnson/Peppa Pig routine which already sounds dated, but his sentiments that news programmes should be cancelled for delivering only gloomy news and that Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty were today’s Statler and Waldorf off the Muppets was received with great acclaim.

Otherwise, wife Melanie was the butt of much of his gentle humour and he covered a large variety of topics – from how appearing in Dr Who has changed his life, to giving birds and bees advice to a seventeen-year-old in the second row.

There was also his house move to Surrey where for a while he thought it was pretty rough because everyone was wearing stab vests, before realising they were gilets, his 18 months without a gig, drinking rosè by the pint during lockdown, his Peloton use and the youth of today.

Local references included recalling his first gig back, on a cruise from Southampton – which docked at Portland (‘to view the prisons’) then Liverpool and around the Isle on Man and back, and his Say Hello Campaign, seemingly launched in Weymouth.

There was also time for an inspired rant about how life today for a white, straight, middle-aged man is such a minefield and how a throwaway comment about an apparent lack of statues in Bristol got him booed at a comedy club in the city.

He finished by explaining why he doesn’t do encores – in what other profession would people pretend to leave work and then return?

Warm-hearted, old-style, mainstream comedy.

Support came from Glasgow’s Ray Bradshaw, twice finalist for Scottish comedian of the year, whose half-hour slot mainly consisted of anecdotes about being born into a family of deaf parents and who, to great acclaim, once presented a whole show in sign language.

His funniest tale was undoubtedly about the time he was asked to sign for his maths teacher at his own parents evening, ignoring what she was saying and stridently signing his own praises. Only afterwards did his father reveal, unbeknown to young Bradshaw, that he was a competent lip reader. Oops!