In 2010, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant sent their hapless pal Karl Pilkington on a journey to discover the Seven Wonders of the World for the series An Idiot Abroad. Despite Karl’s best efforts, he has now been convinced to return for a second series.
Karl Pilkington said: “What else am I going to do? When you’ve been in a programme called An Idiot Abroad, other job offers aren't going to be flying in, are they? At least Wagner off X Factor could go back to Brazil... Because An Idiot Abroad has been on all over the world, I can't escape being known as 'the idiot'. Ricky did that.”
Now screening on Sky 1, An Idiot Abroad 2 sees Karl set out to fulfil a list of ‘Things To Do Before You Die’. Karl will be dispatched to far flung corners of the world to complete his definitive bucket list - such as swimming with dolphins, travelling Route 66, staying on a desert island and climbing Mt. Fuji - in an attempt to prove whether they really are what they’re cracked up to be.
After seeing the Seven Wonders, Karl’s not exactly eager to travel again, so he’s only agreed to do another series if the rules change. Karl wants to choose where he goes and what he does from the Bucket List and one of the places he chooses to visit is Japan.
Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant are both happy to go along with Karl’s wishes to get him through the departure gates. But once Karl’s back on the road, they’ll be back to their old tricks, throwing in unwelcome surprises for Karl along the way to make sure he’s always pushed out of his comfort zone.
Ricky and Stephensaid: “When we asked Karl to list his ‘Things to do before you die’, the only thing he could think of was ‘work in B & Q part time’. So we decided to make a list for him."
The final episode of the series, to be broadcast at 9pm on Friday, 4th November on Sky 1, sees Karl travelling to Japan where he will visit Akita, Kyoto, Tokyo and Mt. Fuji. On arrival in Japan Karl gets lost in Tokyo. Ricky and Steve put him up in a ‘capsule’ hotel, send him to a sumo wrestling stable, arrange for Karl to meet a Zen Master and send him on the world’s steepest rollercoaster. And he has to attempt to climb Mount Fuji.
"I'll be honest, I was worried about going to Japan. I said to Ricky and Steve I wasn't sure about visiting the place after the problems they had in March.
My Girlfriend and my mam wasn’t keen on me going either. I should have listened to them. I had a dreadful time.
But not because of the Tsunami and earthquakes but because of the activities that Ricky (Gervais) and Steve (Merchant) had arranged for me to do.
I was smothered by a sumo wrestler, whacked with a stick by a Buddhist monk and was sick in a Japanese garden after eating some funazushi (fermented raw fish).
On my return Ricky had sorted for me to have a health check. I had all the tests and was given the all clear. Though I don't think the prostate examination that Ricky had arranged was really necessary to check whether Japan had had any ill affect on me.
So I say feel free to visit Japan, just don't let Ricky and Steve organise your itinerary," said Karl Pilkington of his trip to Japan for An Idiot Abroad 2.
“Unlike conventional TV travel programmes, An Idiot Abroad sets out to make its presenter, Karl Pilkington, have a horrible time. We are sure Karl’s trip to Japan will make for a hilarious episode of An Idiot Abroad and we hope that through it viewers will see Japan is a fantastic destination for a truly memorable holiday,” said Kylie Clark of Japan National Tourism Organization’s London office.
For more information about An Idiot Abroad, visit sky1.com/an-idiot-abroad.