An Idiot Abroad
|An Idiot Abroad|
Promotional photo of Karl
|Running time||60 min|
|Creator(s)||Ricky Gervais & Stephen Merchant|
|Network||Sky1, The Science Channel|
|No. of episodes||20|
An Idiot Abroad (formerly known as Karl Pilkington's Seven Wonders Of The World) is a travel show on Sky1. It features Karl Pilkington traveling the globe, experiencing new things and often finding himself in uncrompromising situations. The first series saw Karl visit each of the Seven Wonders of the World. In the second series Karl got to select several activities that would typically feature on a 'bucket list'. Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant also appear in the series, usually in a pre-episode interview with Karl and several phone calls throughout the episode. Both series of the show feature a final episode recap of Karl's experiences. The third series, known as "The Short Way Round", is a three-part series following a similar format, though without Stephen Merchant. In this series, Karl is joined by actor Warwick Davis as the pair loosely follow Marco Polo's route from Venice, Italy to China.
The official podcast from An Idiot Abroad has proved highly successful in the iTunes charts, with a number of top positions.
A preview show of An Idiot Abroad aired on 5 September 2010 and the first episode of the series begins transmission on 23rd September 2010 on Sky 1. Whether the experience broadened Karls’ horizons remains to be seen, but the series is a classic piece of travelogue, style programming that never fails to entertain. During the editing process Gervais stated on his blog, “I cannot wait for this show to air. Karl is the funniest, baldest, grumpiest Manc twat in the world.” Each episode documents Karl on his journey to one of the seven wonders. On the eighth and final episode, Pilkington meets with Gervais and Merchant to discuss the overall experience and hear some of the feedback from the critics.
In February 2010 Gervais stated via his blog that Pilkington had lost weight due to the food in India, or as Gervais put it "he shat himself thin". Gervais also confirmed that he and Merchant have been involved with the editing of the show.
In April 2011, a news item on Merchant's web site stated that An Idiot Abroad 2: The Bucket List is in production, with Karl in Alaska whale-watching. One of his voicemail messages has also been uploaded to Youtube. A photo on Gervais' blog also reveals Pilkington in parachute gear, and an interview with an Australian radio station has Karl talking about visiting various places in Australia - including one 'task' of swimming with a shark.
A quote about the Australian tasks featured in an Adelaide newspaper:
"He came face-to-face with a few sharks," Gervais said.
"I went all the way to Australia to swim with dolphins," explained Pilkington, "That's what I thought I picked on the list. Got in the cage ... shark."
On September 23rd 2011 at 9:00 PM the first episode of An Idiot Abroad 2 aired on Sky1 in the United Kingdom. The first episode features Karl spending a night alone on a Desert Island but also includes Bungy Jumping in New Zealand, meeting a tribe in Vanuatu and Karl's honorary induction into a second tribe where every word in their language starts with an "N". Subsequent episodes saw Karl singing Van Halen in America, dressing as a woman in Thailand, observing gorillas in Uganda, getting buried alive, getting fed up, and getting sick. On the eighth and final episode, Karl gets the chance to sell pants he invented while climbing Mt. Fuji in Japan. He also gets a finger up his arse.
Karl also kept a travel diary that documents his trips to all of the seven wonders. The diary has been released as a book and is titled, An Idiot Abroad: The Travel Diaries of Karl Pilkington. It is available for purchase from Canongate Books and has been officially reviewed by Pilkipedia.
It was announced on March 8th 2012 that Karl would be releasing a second travel diary. This became "The Further Adventures of An Idiot Abroad" and was released in the UK on September 20th 2012. It is also available for purchase from Canongate Books.
|Episode One: Desert Island||Series 2||23 September 2011||TBA||1|
|In the first episode of the new series, Karl heads to Vanuatu in the South Pacific to spend a night alone on a desert Island. Along the way Karl tries his hand at land diving and meets a tribe that worship Prince Phillip.|
|Episode Two: Trans-Siberian Railway||Series 2||30 September 2011||TBA||2|
|In this episode Karl rides the Trans-Siberian Railway from Russia to China. He meets a magnetic man, gets buried alive and creates his own superhero. Karl's dream comes true as he finally gets to visit a village for dwarfs, much to the dismay of Warwick Davis.|
|Episode Three: Swimming With Dolphins||Series 2||7 October 2011||TBA||3|
|Karl heads to Australia to partake in what is possibly the most popular activity to do before you die, swimming with dolphins. On his way Karl makes a stop in Thailand to meet some lady boys and learn Thai boxing. Karl is shocked to learn that he may not be swimming with dolpins, but with something much larger.|
|Episode Four: Whale Watching||Series 2||14 October 2011||TBA||4|
|Karl visits Alaska to partake in some whale watching. Along the way he builds an igloo, gets a lift from a pack of huskies and eats some frozen whale.|
|Episode Five: Meet A Gorilla||Series 2||21 October 2011||TBA||5|
|In this episode Karl heads to Uganda to encounter a wild gorilla. Before reaching Uganda Karl makes a stop in South Africa to help a local community build a new hut, discuss safe sex with school kids and cooks for a king. Karl Can't believe his luck when he meets a hippo in a house.|
|Episode Six: Route 66||Series 2||28 October 2011||TBA||6|
|Karl visits the USA to drive across the legendary Route 66. During his journey he performs with a Glee club, attends a cuddle party and spends some time with an Amish family.|
|Episode Seven: Mount Fuji||Series 2||4 November 2011||TBA||7|
|Karl travels to Japan to tackle the great Mount Fuji. During his time in Japan, Karl gets inspired by all the outlandish inventions and decides it is time he invented something. Never one for embracing new food, he is unimpressed with the unusual Japanese cuisine. Karl reveals his invention, the "Pilko Pump Pants".|
|Episode Eight: Series Two Recap||Series 2||11 November 2011||TBA||8|
|In the final episode of the series, the boys discuss Karl's travels and various experiences. This episode is not without it's surprises as Karl receives an unwelcome visit from a doctor, shows off his Pilko Pump Pants infomercial and gets to perform a song with some musical legends.|
The show was initially titled Karl Pilkington's Seven Wonders of the World, however a decision was made to change the name to the more provocative An Idiot Abroad without Pilkington's knowledge. The name change was actually revealed to Pilkington halfway through the show in order to record his reaction. Pilkington himself has said in interviews that he thinks the name change will harm the show and that people will not want to watch a program about an idiot.
In a poll on Pilkipedia 61% of fans reported to be happy with the name change.
The show has broken numerous records on release, both in the UK and abroad. For instance, two episodes of An Idiot Abroad are in Sky 1's top ten highest ratings shows of all-time and was the highest pay-TV programme of 2010 (minus terrestrial channels, football and The Inbetweeners). Also, in the States it is the highest rating series ever for The Science Channel.
The ratings for the UK broadcasts on Sky 1, sourced by the UK TV ratings panel BARB, are:
- Episode One: China - 1.16 million (individuals)
- Episode Two: India - 1.26 million
- Episode Three: Jordan - 1.68 million
- Episode Four: Mexico - 1.48 million
- Episode Five: Egypt - 1.45 million
- Episode Six: Brazil - 1.38 million
- Episode Seven: Peru - 1.74 million
- Episode Eight: Karl Comes Home - 1.47 million
- Episode One: Desert Island - 2.65 million
- Episode Two: Trans-Siberian Railway - 2.19 million
- Episode Three: Swimming With Dolphins - 2.22 million
- Episode Four: Whale Watching - 2.24 million
- Episode Five: Meet A Gorilla - 2.18 million
- Episode Six: Route 66 - 2.21 million
- Episode Seven: Mount Fuji - 2.59 million
- Episode Eight: Series Two Recap - 2.26 million
- Episode One - 923,000 (individuals)
The show has been broadcast around the world, and is sold by production company Mentorn International.
- USA - The Science Channel
- Australia - Network Ten
- Canada - Discovery Channel
- New Zealand - TV3
- Sweden - SVT
- Finland - YLE
- Norway - NRK
- Iceland - ITC Skjarinn
The releases abroad have often seen promotional stings from Pilkington, Gervais and Merchant. For instance, prior to the premiere airing in Australia the boys were interviewed for various radio stations and newspapers.
Gervais has said about the show being aired across the world: "Karl didn't even go to school and now look at him. I can't wait to hear how they announce it on air. 'And now on Science Channel, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant send a chimp around the world to annoy it.'"
A DVD and Blu-ray release of the first series of An Idiot Abroad was released in the UK on 15 November 2010 and in the US on 10 January 2012.
The second series was released in the UK on DVD and Blu-ray on 21 November 2011 and in the US on 8 January 2013.
The third series was released in the UK on DVD and Blu-ray on 24 December 2012.
- Karl: "I had to get an injection to protect me from a dirty chimp."
- Karl:(looking at the rubbish near the Pyramids) "Shitty nappy whizzing through the air, you don't see that in the brochures."
- Ricky: "He's 23 but his penis is 102. What can we do about that?
Karl: Is this any use?"
- Karl: "What's so good about The Amazon? Can't be that good; there are things in it that would rather live in me knob."
- Karl: "I've never seen anyone bend over as much as him."
- Karl:(on the odd toilet system in China) "Whenever you buy toilet roll holders, it says, "Made in China". Why aren't they using them then?"
- Karl: "....in the end I ate one."
- Karl:(on the Dead Sea) "Something that I read in the book: this is the lowest place...on the world. I know we don't normally have, sort of, information on this programme 'n that, like not proper stuff anyway, but that's a little bit."
- Karl:(on Cairo) "That song walk like an Egyptian - no-one's walking, everyone seems to be in a car at all hours. Just beeping."
- Karl:(on his thoughts on the Great Wall Of China) "The alright wall of China."
- Karl: "Looks like a game of Jenga that got out of hand."
- Karl: (on The Great Wall of China) "Just goes for miles and miles....but so does the M6."
- Karl: "Like a little tornado innit. You don't see that in the brochure. Shitty old nappy whizzing through the air. They tend to leave that out."
- Karl: "I'm not going on a camel again, I'm not going on a camel again, I'm not going on a camel again..."
- Karl:(sitting on a camel) "Me bollocks are squashed."
- Karl: "China's grey enough, why would you want to see it in HD?"
- Karl: "Wake up, Nietzsche."
- Karl: "The beauty of radio is you can listen to it in the dark."
- Ricky: "You are the strangest man on the planet."
Karl: "You haven't been to China."
- Karl:(on the Pyramids) "It's like a massive game of jenga, that's got out of hand."
- Karl:(on India's unhealthy obsession with cows) "You can still like the cow, without going that far. Without the shit and the piss."
- Karl: (from an interview about the show) "If someone took me back to Egypt and said, "The Pyramids are that way, or there's a sleepy lizard over there," I'd rather see the sleepy lizard."
- For more images go to: Gallery:An Idiot Abroad