Karl Pilkington is best known as the star of Sky 1 travel documentary series An Idiot Abroad and The Moaning of Life. Karl is also a Sunday Times best-selling author, having written seven books. New scripted comedy series Sick of It is coming to Sky 1 in 2018. The Moaning of Life saw Karl set off around the world to experience how other cultures faced up to life’s big issues as he made plans for his future, and it continues to be heralded as one of Sky1’s most popular ever programs. Series 2 was 275% above the slot average with extremely high social media engagement. Series 1 was Sky1’s most successful home-grown show that year with over 2.3 million people watching the first episode alone, as well as generating record On
Demand and Sky Go viewing figures for non-scripted programming on Sky. It has now been seen by millions of viewers around the world.
An Idiot Abroad saw Karl being sent around the world by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant on a journey of self discovery. The program spanned three series, culminating in Karl being joined by actor Warwick Davis on an epic journey following the famous explorer Marco Polo from Venice to Eastern Europe, India and China as they got stuck into different cultures and traditions, illuminated by Karl’s trademark observations about the world and Warwick’s varying experiences as a little person in different countries.
The An Idiot Abroad brand has grown from strength to strength. The second series was nominated for a BAFTA® Television Award, adding to previous nods from the British Comedy, National Television, Royal Television Society, Broadcast and Broadcasting Press Guild awards. The series have been sold to over 200 territories worldwide. The accompanying DVDs (distributed by BBC Worldwide) have sold over a million copies and books (published by Canongate) have sold over a million copies in the UK alone, with the first book hitting the Top Ten in hardback in the autumn of 2010 and the No.1 spot on the paperback list in the autumn of 2011. The books have spent 50 weeks in total in the Sunday Times Top 10 bestseller lists. Most recently the accompanying The Moaning of Life book also spent 10 weeks in the Sunday Times best seller list in both hardback and paperback.
The Ricky Gervais Show started out life as a radio programme on London station XFM, which began in 2001 and aired weekly for months at a time during 2002, 2003 and 2004. Karl was an off-air producer for Ricky and Stephen but he didn’t stay off-air for long and his antics and opinions along with his fascination for odd stuff, distrust of animals and dislike of crowds meant that he became a much more vocal part of the show and became the cult hero of the XFM broadcasts. A series of record-breaking podcasts with Ricky and Stephen followed, making Karl a household name around the world. The podcasts went to number 1 in 14 countries including America and became the most downloaded in history according to Guinness World Records, having gained an average of 261,670 downloads per episode during its first month. The podcasts have remained at the top of the charts, outselling, albums, TV and film, currently having been downloaded over 300 million times.
The podcasts were eventually animated for both HBO in the US and E4 in the UK. US-based producer Media Rights Company (MRC) along with Wildbrain, the animation studio behind YoGabbaGabba, made the show.
Karl’s classic quote, “I could eat a knob at night,” has spawned dance records, merchandise and a thousand
online discussions – one such discussion leading to the conclusion that Karl isn’t real but is in fact a comedy
character invented by Ricky and Stephen. The real thing was first seen in all his glory in a twenty-minute
interview, which appeared on Ricky Gervais' live stand-up comedy DVD, Politics. Karl is the author of seven books: The World of Karl Pilkington; Happyslapped by a Jellyfish; Karlology; An Idiot Abroad; The Further Adventures of An Idiot Abroad, The Moaning of Life and More Moaning.