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Introduction to Karl

Karl was born in Manchester 23 September 1972. He used to work for the radio station XFM. While working there he met Steve Merchant and Ricky Gervais. Ricky took a liking to Karl, firstly on the basis of his round head, then by the way he spoke and his perception of the world. He became their radio producer and eventually a host of their radio show.

From then on he went on to do the 'Ricky Gervais Show' podcasts, he played a character in the TV show 'Derek'. He went on to essentially host 2 shows on Sky, namely 'An Idiot Abroad' and 'The Moaning of Life'.

Before Ricky and Steve

Karl went to work as a printer after leaving school at age 15 and was made to work a 24-hour shift pressing CDs for the band Smokey. He attributed his baldness to his stressful life and the fact that he never used to style it. According to him, his hair thought "What am I doing here" and it fell out.

Karl briefly hosted an overnight phone-in show on a Manchester radio station where he was something of an agony uncle. It was in Manchester that he met longtime girlfriend Suzanne. He later moved on to work as Head of Production at London radio station XFM, where he worked for seven years and would first cross paths with Ricky and Steve. Karl was given the job of producing their second run of shows at the station, shortly after the first series of The Office ran on BBC2. At first, he merely "pressed the buttons" as Ricky regularly puts it, but his quirky antics and unique worldview soon prompted Gervais and Merchant to make him a third member of their team and co-host of the show.

With Ricky and Steve

Having been assigned to produce The Ricky Gervais Show with Ricky and Steve, Karl began his on-air role by occasionally interjecting during the broadcast. As more of his anecdotes and opinions were revealed, he became more of a focal point of the show. Eventually, he began to take part in and create his own features.

The first feature introduced that focused on Karl was White Van Karl, where Karl gave his thoughts on current events and minor news stories. Then, following the live revelation that Karl only passed one GCSE, Ricky began Educating Karl on key topics in history and literature.

As Ricky and Steve started to put less effort into the show, Karl began creating his own segments, being:

Educating Ricky

Monkey News


Having masterminded these features, Karl's relative status on the show grew, with Ricky eventually saying it should be called "The Karl Pilkington Show". After the end of the Xfm show, Karl remained part of the trio, giving up his position as head of production at XFM to make podcasts with Ricky and Steve and work on his writing.

Karl's quotes

  • "Does the brain control you or are you controlling the brain? I don't know if I'm in charge of mine."
  • "What are those things in Gremlins called?"
  • "And we've got a toaster and everything. So there is no need for the Wedding."
  • "I could eat a knob at night."
  • "I don't know why they're called fun-sized; I mean, if I called a midget fun-sized, they'd kick off"
  • "A slug is always on its own, it's a lonely insect"
  • "Parrot's have got a bit quiet since Pirates have gone"
  • "You won't get anything don't by planning"
  • "If you sit in a bath full of pineapple chunks, it can kill you. That's well documented"
  • "Who'd have thought the Frisbee would have caught on?"
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