Karl Pilkington is an English television and radio personality, travel show presenter, author, actor and former radio producer. He gained prominence as the producer of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's radio programme on XFM. He appeared on The Ricky Gervais Show, presented the Sky travel series An Idiot Abroad and made his full acting debut (following a cameo appearance in the final episode of Extras) on Gervais' 2012 comedy-drama series "Derek." Pilkington is a co-founder, along with Gervais and Merchant, of RiSK Productions, a television production company.
Pilkington moved to London to work with XFM as a producer, at one point unintentionally causing Gail Porter to leave the station in tears after only one show by criticizing her performance, which Pilkington maintains was an attempt to encourage her to improve. After several years he began work on The Ricky Gervais Show, broadcast on Saturday afternoons. Initially Pilkington was solely the programme's producer. As Gervais and Merchant began to invite him to make the odd comment, Pilkington's persona came to light and his popularity increased. Pilkington was eventually included as a main element of the broadcasts, with large amounts of airtime often given over to his thoughts on various subjects, or various childhood stories. In December 2005, Pilkington stood in for two BBC 6 Music shows for Nemone, and co-presented the shows with Russell Brand.
Pilkington's presence on The Ricky Gervais Show podcasts significantly increased his popularity. He has often been mentioned in interviews given by Gervais, and is often the butt of Gervais' practical jokes. Many of Pilkington's quotes have since gained publicity, particularly on the Internet. Reuters, commenting on this issue, described Pilkington as a "phenomenon" who had made "Internet history."
Pilkington appeared in an interview on Ricky Gervais's live stand-up comedy DVD, "Politics." The DVD of Gervais's film "The Invention of Lying" contains a special feature called Meet Karl Pilkington, which documents his participation in the movie as a non-speaking caveman in another special feature, "The Dawn of Lying." He was given a small role in the final episode of "Extras."
In September 2010, Pilkington starred as himself in "An Idiot Abroad," a travel documentary series that aired on Sky1 and that was produced by Gervais and Stephen Merchant, in which he visits the New 7 Wonders of the World while being directed by Gervais and Merchant into various activities along the way. He wrote a book to accompany the series.
In 2014, Pilkington designed and signed his own card for UK charity Thomas Coram Foundation for Children. The campaign was launched by crafting company Stampin' Up! UK and his card, along with those designed and signed by other celebrities, was auctioned off on eBay in May 2014.
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