The travel documentary, An Idiot Abroad, is created and featured by Karl Pilkington alongside colleagues Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. The first series documents Karl’s journey where he visits the Seven Wonders of the World of which include the pyramids in Egypt and the Great Wall of China. Despite these jaw dropping experiences, most of the footage is focused on Karl’s hilarious and naive reaction to cultural differences. On this epic adventure, Gervais and Merchant take full advantage of Pilkington’s unwillingness to travel. Karl’s reluctant attitude to explore the world creates a platform for humour and provocation. To make things more interesting, Gervais and Merchant would unexpectedly call Karl during his trip and surprise him with tasks that are often not related to the purpose of his visit. This would create genuine annoyance and frustration from Pilkington as he is constantly pushed out of his comfort zone.
The second series followed a similar trend however instead of visiting the Seven Wonders of the World, Karl would choose activities from his “bucket list.” To begin with, Karl was very reluctant to embark on a second series. The only condition he had was that he would choose what he would do and where he would go although it is never as clear cut as that with Merchant and Gervais always lurking in the background. One episode saw an enthusiastic Pilkington travel to Australia with the plan to swim with dolphins. However this was cruelly and intentionally changed at the last minute to cage diving with sharks where Karl nearly suffered a nervous breakdown.