Karl Pilkington
Pilkington in 2008
Born (1972-09-23) 23 September 1972 (age 48)
Sale, England
OccupationTelevision presenter, author, comedian, radio producer, actor, voice actor
Years active1998–2015; 2018-present
Television
Partner(s)Suzanne
Websitekarlpilkington.co.uk

Karl Pilkington (born 23 September 1972)[1] is an English television presenter, author, comedian, radio producer, actor and voice actor.

Pilkington gained prominence as the producer of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's radio programme on Xfm.[2] He appeared on The Ricky Gervais Show, presented the Sky travel comedy series An Idiot Abroad[3] and made his full acting debut (following a cameo appearance in the final episode of Extras) on Gervais's 2012 comedy–drama series Derek. Pilkington is a co-founder, along with Gervais and Merchant, of RiSK Productions, a television production company.[4][5] Pilkington also starred in the Sky 1 travel documentary comedy series The Moaning of Life (2013–2015). In 2018, Pilkington starred in a new scripted comedy series, Sick of It.

Early life

Pilkington was born in the town of Sale, Trafford, located in the south of Greater Manchester. He grew up on the Racecourse Estate neighborhood and lived with his father, mother, an older sister and an older brother. Very little is known about his family, but Pilkington has expressed having a close relationship with his parents, whom he has shared more stories about, the mother being mostly stay-at–home and his father having multiple jobs mainly as a driver; however, he has had an estranged relationship with his siblings, whom he had said it had been years since he even talked with and was never that close to, given a ten-year age gap between him and the older pair.[6]

He made it to secondary school attending Ashton-on-Mersey School on Cecil Avenue, Sale.[7] He said that he never liked school and struggled with the system, at some point losing all interest in it. Pilkington claimed he was only attending school to sell video games that he would purchase and make copies of, among other things he started selling to his schoolmates. He said, "I wasn't going to school to learn, I was going to earn." At age 15, he dropped out of school to work as a cassette and disk printer through a YTS program.[8]

Career

Early work

Pilkington moved to London from Manchester to work with Xfm as a producer, where he was later promoted to head of production. While there, he unintentionally caused Gail Porter to leave the station in tears after only one show; he criticised her performance, which Pilkington defended as an attempt to encourage improvement.[9] After several years, he began work on The Ricky Gervais Show. Initially, Pilkington was solely the programme's producer, but as Gervais and Merchant began to frequently invite him to make cameo appearances, Pilkington's quirky persona came to light and his popularity increased. He was eventually included as a main presenter on the broadcasts, with large amounts of airtime devoted to his unusual thoughts on various subjects and childhood stories. He created many features for the broadcasts, including Monkey News, Rockbusters, 15 Taiwan, Educating Ricky and many others. In December 2005, Pilkington stood in for two BBC Radio 6 Music shows for Nemone, co-presenting with Russell Brand.

Celebrity

Pilkington's presence on The Ricky Gervais Show podcasts significantly increased his fame. He has often been mentioned in interviews given by Gervais, and is often the victim of Gervais' practical jokes. After Pilkington said "I could eat a knob at night" (rather than for breakfast) on the podcast (in relation to I'm a Celebrity contestants eating a kangaroo penis), Gervais encouraged his listeners to sample the sound bite and mix it into dance music. The phrase spawned several dance music mixes, T-shirts and other merchandise. Many of Pilkington's quotes have since gained publicity, particularly on the Internet. Reuters described Pilkington as a "phenomenon" who had made "Internet history."[10]

On 23 November 2010, while appearing live on Richard Bacon's Radio 5 Live afternoon show, Gervais surprised Pilkington with an on-air phone call. This led to a conversation in which Pilkington, who claimed to have been interrupted while grouting his kitchen, claimed that he had not yet been paid for his work on An Idiot Abroad and concluded the interview with an off-the-cuff link into the hourly news.[11]

Pilkington has worked independently of Gervais and Merchant on several projects. He appeared as a guest on the shows Flipside TV and The Culture Show,[12] and appeared in several short films as part of the Channel 4 project 3 Minute Wonders.[citation needed]

Merchant and Gervais have repeatedly denied claims that Pilkington's persona is their creation. In an on-air response to similar claims made by Chris Campling during a broadcast on Xfm, Merchant stated that he would be "ashamed" if the radio show had been scripted, and added that "I would not have squandered a character that good on this poxy radio station."[13] Gervais concurred, pointing out that writing a single series' worth of six half-hour episodes of shows such as The Office and Extras consumed as long as a full year of their time. An interviewer for The Daily Telegraph concluded that Pilkington's persona is genuine.[14]

Television and DVD

Pilkington appeared in an interview on Gervais's live standup comedy DVD Politics. The DVD of Gervais's film The Invention of Lying contains a special feature called Meet Karl Pilkington[15] that documents his participation in the film as a non-speaking caveman in another special feature, The Dawn of Lying.[16][unreliable source?] He was given a small role in the final episode of Extras.

In September 2010, Pilkington starred in An Idiot Abroad, a light-hearted Sky1 travel documentary series produced by Gervais and Merchant in which he visits the New 7 Wonders of the World while participating in various activities along the way.[17] He wrote a book to accompany the series.[18]

The second series, subtitled The Bucket List, debuted on 23 September 2011 on Sky 1 and features Pilkington partaking in ultimate experiences from a list selected for him.[19] In June 2011, he won the Best Presenter award for An Idiot Abroad at the Factual Entertainment Awards.[20] The third series of the show, An Idiot Abroad: The Short Way Round, premiered in November 2012 and showed Pilkington and Warwick Davis travelling the Marco Polo route.

He made his acting debut on 12 April 2012 in the Channel 4 comedy-drama Derek, portraying caretaker and bus driver Dougie. He left the show after the first episode of the second series. From 2013 to 2015, Pilkington starred in a two-series Sky 1 documentary called The Moaning of Life.[21] From 2018 to 2020, he co-wrote and starred in a Sky 1 scripted sitcom called Sick of It.[22] Pilkington has also performed voice-over work for such clients as One Stop Office Shop, FreeView, Vodafone, HMV, Sony PSP, WHSmith, Wickes and Unilever.

Charity work

In 2014, Pilkington designed and signed his own card for the Thomas Coram Foundation for Children charity. The campaign was launched by crafting company Stampin' Up! UK, and his card, along with those designed and signed by other celebrities, was auctioned on eBay in May 2014.[23]

Personal life

Pilkington has been in a long-term relationship with his partner Suzanne, who was regularly mentioned on Xfm and on his podcast appearances.[24][25] He has supported Manchester United since the 1990s, having previously supported Manchester City as a child.[26][27]

Filmography

Film

Year Title Role Notes
2009 The Invention of Lying Caveman Cameo, cut from final release.
2010 Cemetery Junction Extra
2012 Chingari Reporter

Television

Year Title Role Notes
2003 Flipside TV Himself
2006 3 Minute Wonder Segment: "Some Thoughts by Karl Pilkington"
2007 Comedy Lab Episode: "Karl Pilkington: Satisfied Fool"[28]
Extras Autograph Hunter Episode: "2007 Christmas Special"
Monkey Lovers (Documentary) Himself Voice
2010–2012 The Ricky Gervais Show
An Idiot Abroad
2012–2014 Derek Dougie
2013–2015 The Moaning of Life Himself
2018–2020 Sick of It Karl

Radio

Year Title Role
2001–2011 The Ricky Gervais Show Himself

Bibliography

Year Title ISBN
2006 The World of Karl Pilkington 978-0007240272
2007 Happyslapped by a Jellyfish 978-1405328470
2008 Karlology: What I've Learnt So Far[29] 978-1405333351
2010 An Idiot Abroad: The Travel Diaries of Karl Pilkington[30] 978-1847679260
2012 The Further Adventures of An Idiot Abroad[31] 978-0857867490
2013 The Moaning of Life: The Worldly Wisdom of Karl Pilkington[32] 978-1782111511
2016 More Moaning: The Enlightened One Returns 978-1782117315

References

  1. ^ "The Ricky Gervais Show Series 2 Episode 34". The Ricky Gervais Show. 12 April 2003. XFM. Transcript. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  2. ^ "Tonight's TV: The Ricky Gervais Show (XFM)". the times.co.uk. Retrieved 17 April 2010.
  3. ^ "Sky1: An Idiot Abroad". Sky1.sky.com. 23 September 2011. Archived from the original on 5 September 2011. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
  4. ^ "Idiot Abroad 3 in pre-production". Broadcast. 2 March 2012. Retrieved 29 September 2013. Gervais set up Risk Productions along with Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington to make the second series following the success of the first Mentorn Media-produced series.
  5. ^ "The 'idiot' is back..." Chortle. 2 February 2011. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  6. ^ The Complete Karl Pilkington on Family (A Compilation with Ricky Gervais & Steve Merchant), retrieved 18 April 2021
  7. ^ "Karl Pilkington: Ricky Gervais's extra pair of hands". The Independent. 17 September 2006. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  8. ^ #TSP055 - Karl Pilkington Podcast, retrieved 25 March 2021
  9. ^ "Karl Pilkington: Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant Conned Me Into TV Show - On The Christian O'Connell Breakfast Show - Video". Absolute Radio. Archived from the original on 2 October 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
  10. ^ "Ricky Gervais... Obviously". Rickygervais.com. August 2004. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
  11. ^ "Ricky Gervais makes a surprise call to Karl Pilkington". BBC News. 22 November 2010.
  12. ^ "Releaselog | RLSLOG.net » The Culture Show S08E03 WS PDTV XviD-REMAX". RLSLOG.net. Archived from the original on 4 February 2008. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
  13. ^ Pilkington, K. (Producer) & Merchant, S., Gervais, R. (Presenters). (June 2005)
  14. ^ "The idiot philosopher". The Daily Telegraph. 17 September 2006. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
  15. ^ White, Cindy (2 December 2009). "Invention of Lying Comes Clean – Ricky Gervais and Jennifer Garner gracing DVD and Blu-ray". IGN.com.
  16. ^ Gentry, Alexis (22 January 2010). "DVD Extras Better Than Movie on Invention of Lying Disc". voices.yahoo.com. Yahoo. Archived from the original on 15 June 2013.
  17. ^ "An Idiot Abroad Official Site". Sky1.sky.com. 23 September 2011. Archived from the original on 5 September 2011. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
  18. ^ "An Idiot Abroad". London: Waterstones. 2 September 2010. Archived from the original on 30 September 2010. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
  19. ^ "An Idiot Abroad 2: About the Show – Sky1 HD". Sky1.sky.com. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
  20. ^ Benzine, Adam. ""Deadliest Catch"," Amazing Race" win big at Factual Entertainment Awards » Realscreen". Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  21. ^ "Karl's mid-life crisis".
  22. ^ Mitchell, Bea (21 September 2017). "Karl Pilkington Sky 1 Sitcom Sick of it". digitalspy.com.
  23. ^ Rebecca Pocklington (6 May 2014). "Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston, Jo Brand and more celebrities design and sign cards for UK's first children's charity". Mirror Online. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  24. ^ James Robertson (19 September 2013). "Karl Pilkington claims girlfriend won't be upset at being described as "plump" in new show The Moaning of Life". Mirror. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  25. ^ Danielle Paquette (28 January 2011). "'Idiot Abroad' unimpressed by world's wonders". CNN. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  26. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/45651999
  27. ^ "Famous fan: Karl Pilkington - Official Manchester United Website". www.manutd.com. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  28. ^ "Comedy Lab - Episode Guide - All 4". www.channel4.com. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  29. ^ Pilkington, Karl. "Karlology page at". Waterstones.com. Archived from the original on 17 May 2011. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
  30. ^ "An Idiot Abroad: The Travel Diaries of Karl Pilkington page at". Waterstones.com. Archived from the original on 30 September 2010. Retrieved 11 October 2010.
  31. ^ "The Further Adventures of An Idiot Abroad by Karl Pilkington - Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists". Goodreads.com. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
  32. ^ "The Moaning of Life: The Worldly Wisdom of Karl Pilkington by Karl Pilkington — Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists". Goodreads.com. Retrieved 9 November 2013.