Pilkington in 2007
|Born||23 September 1972
Manchester, England, UK
|Occupation||Former Head of Production at Xfm London
Karl Pilkington (born on 23 September 1972) is a Sony Award-winning English radio producer, podcaster, raconteur and author, best known for producing and co-presenting The Ricky Gervais Show on London radio station Xfm from 2001 to 2005 and later in the form of podcasts and a television show on HBO. He is frequently described by both Ricky Gervais and Steve Merchant on their audio programmes as having a "head like a fucking orange", and this description has become well-known amongst his fans. In October 2006, Pilkington's first book The World of Karl Pilkington was published, featuring original ideas and drawings by Pilkington, based upon the subject matter discussed in the podcasts. His second book, Happyslapped by a Jellyfish, was published in October 2007, and he was the subject of the Comedy Lab episode "Karl Pilkington - Satisfied Fool", which aired in October 2007. His third book, Karlology, a musing on his views on his own intelligence, and attitude to learning, appeared on 1 October 2008.
Karl Pilkington grew up in Sale, Greater Manchester, and spent much of his childhood in Porthmadog, Wales, due to his father's work. He was also educated in Manchester. Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant contacted Karl's school after a conversation during their XFM show  and discovered that he attained only one GCSE for History, for which he achieved an "E" grade. Pilkington was surprised and upset at this as he recalled sitting several other GCSE exams; however a failure to register for them was offered as an explanation by Gervais and Merchant for his lack of other grades.
In December 2005, Pilkington stood in for two BBC 6Music shows for Nemone, and co-presented the shows with Russell Brand. They proved so popular that by the following April Brand was working as a permanent DJ at BBC 6Music, which was the forerunner to his Radio 2 show.
Pilkington lives in Hampstead, London and Deal, Kent.
On 24 April 2006, The New York Times ran an article about Ricky Gervais and the podcast which described Pilkington's behaviour as a well executed "deadpan comedian" routine which "crosses Ali G and Steven Wright".
Merchant and Gervais themselves have repeatedly denied claims that Pilkington's comic persona is their creation. In an on-air response to similar claims made by Chris Campling during a broadcast on Xfm, Merchant stated that he would be "ashamed" if the radio show were scripted, adding that "If we came up with a character as good as Karl, we would never squander him on a poxy little radio station like this one". Gervais concurred, pointing out that writing half-hour episodes of shows such as The Office and Extras took the two up to a year, thus making the writing of weekly two-hour radio shows extremely unlikely.
As a result of the success of The Ricky Gervais Show podcasts in particular, Pilkington has become a cult celebrity. Pilkington has often been mentioned in interviews given by Gervais, and he is often on the receiving end of Gervais's practical jokes. When asked who was the funniest person he knew, Gervais said that Karl Pilkington was "the funniest man alive in Britain today." In addition, Pilkington appears in a twenty minute interview on Ricky Gervais's live stand-up comedy DVD, Politics. He was also invited to be an extra on the final episode of Gervais' and Merchant's Extras.
Pilkington reached new heights of fame by commenting that he could "Eat a knob at night" during a discussion on the podcast The Ricky Gervais Show during a conversation about how contestants on I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! had to eat a kangaroo's penis. Pilkington stated that, whilst in the morning he would be unable to face the appendage due to having a weak stomach, he would more than likely be able to eat it in the evening, when he had "some rice and that on his belly." His phrase "I could eat a knob at night" has since spawned dance music remixes, T-shirts and other merchandise, as well as discussion on many websites. A newspaper commenting on this issue described Pilkington as a "phenomenon" who had made "Internet history".
Pilkington also found work independently of Gervais and Merchant on a number of projects. He appeared as a guest on the Nation 277 series Flipside TV, been featured several times as a guest on BBC series The Culture Show, was in several short films as part of the Channel 4 initiative "3 Minute Wonders", and Channel 4's "Karl Pilkington - Satisfied Fool" was broadcast 22 October 2007. Pilkington has also performed voiceover work for such clients as Vodafone, HMV, Sony PSP, W H Smith and Unilever.
It has been announced that Pilkington will star in his own TV series, alongside Merchant and Gervais, in which he visits the Seven Wonders of the World. The show will be broadcast on Sky1, and is due to be aired in 2010.
Pilkington has written a number of semi-factual and fictitious books upon quitting from his job as producer at XFM.