Karl Pilkington: I owe my success to Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant trying to annoy me

The Moaning of Life star - who describes himself as "a toilet brush" – says the comedy duo helped put him on the path to success

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He’s returning to our TV screens to travel the globe yet again in The Moaning of Life 2, but Karl Pilkington says none of it would be possible if it wasn’t for two people: Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.

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Pilkington was speaking at a screening of the new series when he commented that An Idiot Abroad – the show during which Gervais and Merchant sent him off on a series of adventures that launched his TV career – was all about “p*ssing me off”.

So, how much of his TV success does he owe to Gervais and Merchant trying to annoy him? “It’s all them, isn’t it?” Pilkington tells RadioTimes.com, “I mean without them I wouldn’t be doing this.”

“I got lucky meeting them, but you know, I’d been around for years before them as well, I’d done radio stuff but I think, everybody needs a leg up don’t they? No matter who you are, somewhere along the way.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_6gnqucgOc

Pilkington, who heads to New York and Los Angeles to learn about art – this involves a performance in Time Square in his pants – in the first episode of the new series says he’s never got a job through an interview because he’s “like a toilet brush”.

Stay with us, he can explain.

“You don’t get excited about going out and buying one but if you haven’t got one and you’ve left a mark there and you can’t get rid of it, suddenly it’s ‘Oh God I need one'”, Pilkington begins.

“And that’s what I’m like, I’m the equivalent of that. You don’t think about the toilet brush, you don’t get excited about going out and buying it, it’s just there doing it’s job in the corner and when you need it it’s there. That’s sort of what I’m like, I deliver when it comes to it, but at the beginning I don’t excite anyone.”

Of course Pilkington’s loyal viewers and Ricky Gervais Show listeners wouldn’t agree.

Someone clearly found Pilkington exciting enough to give him three series of An Idiot Abroad and let him write books to accompany Moaning of Life.

And in 2011 he even proved popular enough to win the Best Presenter award for An Idiot Abroad at the Factual Entertainment Awards.

Yet Pilkington says the experience hasn’t changed him. He still comes home after filming, goes through his post, has a cup of tea or some cake and heads out to tend to his garden, which he admits has become something of a passion of his.

“I reckon when Lenny Henry gets back from trips, he still goes apesh*t if there’s no milk in the fridge” he tells the audience gathered for the screening, delivering the opinion in the same deadpan manner we’ve become accustomed to seeing on television.

Pilkington’s looking forward to seeing another series of The Moaning of Life go out on Sky1, and he’s particularly passionate about episode 2 (which focuses on identity), but would he do it all over again?

“If I never go away and film anything again I’ll feel like I’ve done it, I’ve seen it” he says. “I just do what I do and then hopefully some people like it.”

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Karl Pilkington: The Moaning of Life 2 starts Tuesday 13th October on Sky1 at 9pm