Karl Pilkington has had an illustrious career spanning three decades. The comedian/media personality has featured in many popular comedy shows including An Idiot Abroad, The Moaning of Life, and Sick of It. Pilkington is also one of the star attractions on the popular Ricky Gervais Show. His personality on the radio show-turned-podcast has made him a household name not only in Britain but also the world over.
He is also a best selling author who has written many widely read books over the years. Although Karl kickstarted his career on radio, he has gained immense media attention with his television projects which have earned him many accolades.
He Started His Career On A Hospital Radio Show
Karl Pilkington attended Ashton-on-Mersey School but was not overly interested in his studies and thus quit school at the age of 15. On dropping out, the media personality trained as a printer and spent long shifts pressing CDs. During this period, his father became ill and was admitted to the Wythenshawe Hospital in 1989. Pilkington, of course, had to visit his dad regularly and during one of such visits, he was inspired to sign up as the hospital’s radio newsreader. Pilkington spent much of his shifts telling funny stories, rather than reading actual news, but this still served as a valuable learning experience.
On leaving the hospital radio gig, Karl Pilkington found work at Piccadilly Radio, Manchester. He worked the graveyard shift (2 am to 6 am) and spent much of the time quizzing callers rather than playing music. This infuriated the powers that be and he was soon fired. On getting the boot, Pilkington moved to London where he was hired by XFM Radio. In the course of his work at XFM, he was assigned to produce the comedy show, The Ricky Gervais Show. His influence on the show was initially limited to an off-air role but the two presenters, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, often worked him into the conversation.
His odd and hilarious replies soon became so popular that he was officially promoted to become the third member of the show. Pilkington’s quotes eventually became legendary and he became a cult hero. The Ricky Gervais Show was later turned into a podcast and Karl Pilkington continued his exploits there. The podcast is now one of the most popular podcasts in the world and has been downloaded over 300 million times since its inception, becoming the most downloaded podcast in history based on the Guinness World Records.
Karl Pilkington Became A TV Star With ‘An Idiot Abroad’
Apart from his work on The Ricky Gervais Show, which catapulted the comedian to stardom, he has headlined his own shows including An Idiot Abroad, Derek, The Moaning of Life, and Sick of It. In September 2010, Pilkington began working as the presenter of An Idiot Abroad but prior to that, in 2009, he appeared in Meet Karl Pilkington – the special feature for the DVD of the 2009 film The Invention of Lying. Meet Karl Pilkington documented his role as a non-speaking caveman in another of the film’s feature, The Dawn of Lying. Afterward, he had roles in other projects spearheaded by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant such as The Culture Show, Flipside TV and 3 Minutes Wonders. He additionally had a small role in the series finale of another Ricky Gervais’ show titled Extras.
Karl Pilkington then gained fame for his work on An Idiot Abroad, a Sky 1 documentary series which was originally named Karl Pilkington’s Seven Wonders of the World. It follows Pilkington as he travels the world, ostensibly on a journey of self-discovery. The comedian traveled to numerous countries in the show and they include China, India, Mexico, Egypt, Russia, South Africa, Japan, Thailand, Italy, Macedonia, and Macau.
The first season of An Idiot Abroad premiered on Sky 1 on September 23rd, 2010 and attracted 1.24 million viewers, and thus, emerged as the network’s fourth-most popular non-terrestrial program. Then its second season debuted a year later and became the TV network’s most-watched non-terrestrial program after gathering 2.659 million viewers. The third and the final season debuted on November 30th, 2012, and ended on December 21st, 2012.
Following his work in the travel documentary comedy TV series, Karl Pilkington was recognized with the Best Presenter award at the Factual Entertainment Awards. The show also gained nominations for the BAFTA Television Award, British Comedy Award, The Broadcasting Press Guild Award, and The National Television Award.
He Has Appeared In Other Popular TV Shows
While still presenting An Idiot Abroad, Pilkington picked up a role in the British comedy-drama series, Derek (2012-14), that was written and directed by Ricky Gervais. He was cast as Dougie, a bus driver, and caretaker in the TV series that follows the story of a group of outsiders living on society’s margins. Karl Pilkington further presented another travel documentary comedy TV series titled The Moaning of Life, from October 2013 to November 2015.
The Moaning of Life is also a Sky 1 series about a middle-aged man who embarks on a journey to explore other cultures and their solutions to life’s big issues. The show saw Pilkington visit countries such as Japan, The Philippines, U.S., Mexico, Ghana, and India. Additionally, he co-created a comedy-drama TV series, Sick of It which premiered on Sky 1 in September 2018. Karl plays the lead in the series which was renewed for a second season in January 2020.
Through his exceptional gigs on television, Karl Pilkington has attained celebrity status and in the process, augmented his earnings as he comfortably sits on a net worth of $3.5 million.
The Eminent TV Personality Is Also a Best-selling Author
Besides his work on TV, Karl Pilkington has written several bestselling books, usually as an accompaniment to his shows. He has greatly improved his résumé with his outstanding writing projects.
Over the years, he has written six books; the first is titled “The World of Karl Pilkington” published in the year 2006. In the next year, he authored “Happyslapped by a Jellyfish”, followed by “Karlology: What I’ve Learnt So Far” in 2008.
His other books include “An Idiot Abroad” (2012), “The Moaning of Life: The Worldly Wisdom of Karl Pilkington” (2013), and “More Moaning: The Enlightened One Returns” (2016). “An Idiot Abroad” spent over 48 weeks in the Top 10 bestseller lists of the Sunday Times. “The Moaning of Life” also had a good run, spending over 8 weeks on the list.
Karl Pilkington And His Long-Term Partner Have Been Together For Over Two Decades
Karl Pilkington has never been married but he is however in a long-term relationship with the journalist, Suzanne Whiston. Pilkington first met his partner when they were both colleagues at Key 103 radio station situated in Manchester, in the 90s. Having fallen for Karl’s sense of humor, Suzanne paid for his hot chocolate one day he was out of cash, and that marked the beginning of their loving relationship. They started dating in 1994 and have been together since then.
The two are yet to get married or have any kids, and this is majorly down to the comic who does not believe in marriage or having kids. Regardless, the couple is living life to the fullest and refer to each other as husband and wife.
His Partner, Suzanne Whiston, Is A Sports Journalist
Karl Pilkington’s partner, Suzanne Whiston, is a British national whose birth year is recorded as 1968. Details about her family background and educational achievements are widely unavailable. However, Whiston is a sports journalist who previously worked for the BBC. While there, she covered prestigious events such as the 2006 World Cup held in Germany. She also worked as the producer of the popular BBC football program, Match of the Day.
Having been part of the BBC production team for years, Suzanne founded a production company known as Alrite Productions. She runs it together with her partner, Karl. The company has already produced an animated movie and also has a popular YouTube channel.