Ricky Gervais says show with Karl Pilkington 'is real'

Ricky Gervais
Ricky says that the Queen asked Prince Harry for his autograph

Ricky Gervais says his new show An Idiot Abroad, which features Karl Pilkington, is one of the most real documentaries you'll see on television.

The new programme was executive produced by Ricky and long-time collaborator Stephen Merchant and sees Karl sent off to travel the globe in a bid to change his outlook on the world.

Ricky dismissed any speculation that Karl's character is manufactured.

He said: "People think the podcasts are scripted, that he's an actor called Graham, that me and Steve write all his lines - as if.

"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.

"We just put a camera in his face like The Truman Show, for hundreds of hours, and then we just edited down the most interesting and funny bits.

"It's not a comedy, it's just funny because of who Karl is. It's more real than so-called reality game shows. Nothing's done in retrospect, it happened or didn't. It's absolutely real."

'From the heart'

The documentary charts Karl's reaction to the situations he's placed in, which Ricky says he had no warning about.

Ricky added: "What's fascinating is you've never seen the countries like it. Karl says what he's thinking - it's really from the heart. You're really getting a man's first reaction of everything he sees."

Throughout the programme Ricky and Stephen call Karl to give him various tasks to carry out and they also put in an occasional appearance.

Amongst other things Karl tries his hand at karate, has a fire massage in China and also tests out some of the local food in places like India and Egypt - where toad is on the menu.

Karl added: "I don't know why they're eating that sort of stuff, that's what's annoying.

"There's a lot of tasteless stuff in Egypt. It's all mush, it's all crumbly stuff with no taste."

Ricky says he counts Prince Harry as one of his fans and even claims the young prince asked him for an autograph for the Queen.

He said: "Well I don't know if she was a fan but Harry got me to sign something for her - he was at the gig.

"I don't know what all the fuss is about, he texts me all the time. I can't tell you what he texts, it would be the downfall of England."

An Idiot Abroad starts on Sky HD on 23 September.