An Idiot Abroad - Season 1

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An Idiot Abroad is a travel documentary television series broadcast on Sky1, as well as spin-off books published by Canongate Books, created by and featuring Karl Pilkington and his former radio show colleagues Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. The ongoing theme of both the television series and the books is that Pilkington has no interest in global travel and so Merchant and Gervais make him travel while they themselves stay in London and monitor his progress.


An Idiot Abroad documents Karl Pilkington's journeys to foreign countries under the guise of visiting the New Seven Wonders of the World. Though the New Seven Wonders of the World include the Colosseum in Rome, this is not one of Pilkington's destinations because Ricky and Stephen thought that he might feel too comfortable in Rome; instead he visits the Great Pyramids in Egypt (which is the last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World to remain intact). Despite the stated focus of visiting the wonders, most of each episode focuses on Karl’s reactions to cultural differences and idiosyncrasies in the countries he visits. To make things more interesting, Ricky and Stephen unexpectedly call Karl during each trip, to assign him tasks often not related to why he believed he was visiting the country in the first place. These include training as a luchador, traveling the desert on a camel, and dancing with a samba school in a Carnival parade. It was confirmed by the show's producers that Pilkington has no prior warning about these situations. Gervais commented: "This is a [more real] documentary than most others you'll ever see on television. We don't plan it, he doesn't know what's going to happen.". A book entitled "The Travel Diaries Of Karl Pilkington" was published shortly after the series. It was authored by Pilkington himself, and gives a deeper insight into his feelings on what he was experiencing.

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