Educating Karl

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Educating Karl was a Series 1 feature where Ricky would set Karl a different task each week, motivated by Karl's poor GCSE performance. He was presented with his results on 02 March 2002, however Ricky instantly felt bad for Karl who was disappointed with them. This gave Ricky the idea of the feature (he also offered to pay for Karl to take history again, but Karl refused).

The premise was that Karl would focus on a single topic at a time and learn about it during the week, and then recount what he had learned on the show. Ricky would set the topic and often provide the reading material for Karl.


  • Karl began his re-education by learning about Rasputin the Mad Monk. Karl was confused as to why Rasputin was a historical figure, and went on to compare him to his brother. 02 March 2002
  • In the second week, he learnt about Che Guevara, whose name he remembered because it sounded like Shake Guitara. This was arguably Karl's best performance, with his account leading to a Che Guevara expert phoning to congratulate him. Although, Karl wrongly quoted Che Guevara's last words as "Go on then, shoot me. Be a man!" which are actually a mis-quote of Clayton's words in the 1999 Disney film Tarzan, which were "Go ahead, shoot me. Be a man!". Che Guevara's last words are noted as being "I know you've come to kill me. Shoot, you are only going to kill a man". Karl complained that his teacher's never encouraged him in the same way, with Mrs Matthews saying 'he'd never be a high flier'. 09 March 2002
  • Karl then studied Hitler and had less success, possibly due to his extensive searching of the 'one-ball' theory. At this point, he was getting a bit bored of his re-education, which is apparently "what 'appened at school". 16 March 2002
  • Karl's final study on historical figures was Winston Churchill. Karl did well, and commented that Churchill was his favourite of the four, because "if it wasn't for him, we wouldn't be here like this - we'd be talking German". 23 March 2002
  • Ricky moved on to more metaphorical subjects from thereon. Karl's next topic was fables, which he failed to grasp. "It’s all about, you know, a gorilla and a fox are walkin’ through the woods. How often does that happen?". He did enjoy one about a belly and some legs, however. 30 March 2002
  • Karl moved onto quotes. Ricky offered him the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, but he refused it after the show. Suzanne was annoyed when he got home, because she really wanted a look at the book, so Karl went out and bought the Eric & Ernie Book of Quotations. Karl picked a good one ("The memo is written not to inform the reader but to protect the writer". Dean Acheson), a poem by Dorothy Parker, one that annoyed him ("All art is quite useless". Oscar Wilde), and his favourite (“I bit a head of a bat the other night, it was like eating a crunchie in a bit of shammy leather.” Ozzy Osbourne). 6 April 2002
  • The following week Karl stayed on quotes, and challenged Ricky and Steve to pick his out from two others, in a bid to prove that anyone can be quoted. Karl's quote: "Cat food (Cue raucous laughter from Gervais and Merchant) it stinks a bit, but if you don't put up with the smell, the little kitten will die". Karl explained that his quote referred to love, and what you tolerate to maintain it. Ricky and Steve quickly guessed it was his. Karl's re-education petered out after this show. 13 April 2002