New Award for 2011
An Idiot Abroad - The film series
Directors: Krishnendu Majumdar, Luke Campbell
Producers: Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, Dan Goldsack, Krishnendu Majumdar, Richard Yee, Luke Campbell
Broadcast by: Sky One
UK release: September 2010
What is An Idiot Abroad?
An Idiot Abroad follows Karl Pilkington as he travels around the globe visiting the New Seven Wonders of the World. So far, so good - except that Karl hasn't really travelled, doesn't really want to travel, and is - at first - unaware that the trips are aimed not only at broadening his mind, but also at causing him maximum discomfort.
Karl's destinations include China, India, Egypt and Mexico, and he endures everything from getting burned by a Chinese fire masseuse to eating toad in Egypt. The show follows his reactions to the new cultures and people he comes across - and, according to producers Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, is completely genuine.
Who's in An Idiot Abroad?
Pilkington, 38, is the award-winning former producer of The Ricky Gervais Show, which Gervais and Merchant co-presented on radio station XFM. When the pair started asking him questions on air, they found their audience loved the downbeat, wry, straight-talking Mancunian. A series of podcasts featuring Pilkington were downloaded by 250 million people.
The show followed - and was attracting two million viewers by the time it reached its eighth and final episode on Sky One last autumn, making it the channel's most watched programme. There was subsequently a book, An Idiot Abroad: The Travel Diaries of Karl Pilkington.
What awards has An Idiot Abroad won?
None, so far. But we hear Gervais prefers to avoid awards ceremonies these days.
What do the reviews say about An Idiot Abroad?
The Telegraph's Pete Naughton described Pilkington as "quick-witted, expressive and clearly no moron. The Great Wall episode is littered with witty, plain-spoken and wryly downbeat observations." MSN UK editor James Draven paid tribute to Pilkington's "comic brilliance", adding: "In the right context, he is one of the funniest men alive."
In an interview, Gervais told entertainment website Digital Spy: "You have never seen these countries like this before. They are usually sugar-coated. Karl says what he's thinking - you really get a man's first reaction on everything he sees." Merchant agreed: "Travel programmes usually repackage opinions that we've already formed. Karl offers a genuinely fresh take on it all."