Id­i­otic AD­VEN­TURES

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - TV Guide - - Close Up - Anooska Tucker-evans

Be­ing buried alive is an ex­pe­ri­ence that would leave many peo­ple scarred for life, but not Karl Pilk­ing­ton.

The so-called “idiot” from TV do­co­com­edy An Idiot Abroad was made to dig his own grave in Rus­sia and lie in it, us­ing a piece of gar­den hose as a breath­ing tube.

“At first I was wor­ried about it but when I was down there it was peace and quiet and I just felt like I could have time to my­self with no one else an­noy­ing me,’’ he says.

“They dug me out and I think they were ex­pect­ing me to go mad and I was just like, ‘I’d be quite happy to be in an­other 10 min­utes’.”

It’s al­most no won­der Pilk­ing­ton wanted an es­cape af­ter the stunts his sup­posed mates – English fun­ny­men Ricky Ger­vais and Stephen Mer­chant – put him through.

The 39-year-old is sent around the globe to face ex­pe­ri­ences de­signed to take him out of his com­fort zone, but which usu­ally prove ter­ri­fy­ing, dis­gust­ing and hu­mil­i­at­ing.

“I re­ally, re­ally get an­noyed with them but I don’t like to tell them,” Pilk­ing­ton says. “If they know I’m get­ting all an­noyed they’re lov­ing it, so I like to just send them a text go­ing, ‘Yeah, I’m al­right, hav­ing a lovely time’, just to an­noy them. It’s the only power I’ve got re­ally – the power of the lie.”

In the first sea­son of the show, Pilk­ing­ton – a for­mer ra­dio pro­ducer – vis­ited the New Seven Won­ders Of The World where he was made to eat a toad in China, live in a cave in Jor­dan and was fake kid­napped in Is­rael. Se­ries two sees him tick items off his bucket list but, again, they’re not with­out a lit­tle evil spin from Ger­vais and Mer­chant.

“I def­i­nitely had sec­ond thoughts (about do­ing a sec­ond sea­son),” Pilk­ing­ton says.

“It was eas­ier than se­ries one be­cause I sort of knew what to ex­pect in a way.

“It wasn’t as much of a sur­prise when I’d end up some­where and I’d think, ‘Well, this isn’t the plan’. I knew how Ricky and Steve worked so I was more ac­cept­ing of things.”

But with stunts in­clud­ing swim­ming with sharks in Australia, stand­ing on the edge of a live vol­cano in Van­u­atu and bungee jump­ing in New Zealand, his ac­cep­tance of what was to come didn’t make the ex­pe­ri­ences any less ter­ri­fy­ing.

“It’s like if some­one said you’re go­ing to go for a long walk and at some point you’re go­ing to get run over by a bus, it would af­fect the whole walk. And that’s what it’s like. It’s like you’re try­ing to en­joy it but you’re think­ing, ‘When’s the bus com­ing?’,’’ he says.

Although he may be the butt of his mates’ jokes, Pilk­ing­ton says he gets the last laugh.

“I just think I’m get­ting more out of it than them so they can carry on,” he says. “I’m see­ing places they’re never go­ing to see so, in the end, I think I’m the win­ner.

“They might sort of have their lit­tle laughs about the sit­u­a­tions they’re putting me through, but when I come home I’ve got pho­to­graphs to prove I’ve been to places and done things, where they’ve been sat in their lit­tle house watch­ing telly and drink­ing tea.”

That doesn’t mean Pilk­ing­ton’s up for a third sea­son though.

“Ricky wants to do some­thing but at the mo­ment I just said, ‘Let’s just leave it’. I’m writ­ing a book for the sec­ond se­ries and I’ve just had enough of be­ing on a plane.” –

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