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I TALK Sick of It

Karl Pilkington has produced radio shows, featured on podcasts, starred in his own documentaries and even written books but never has he starred in his own scripted comedy, until now.

Almost three years to the day since Karl Pilkington's last television project The Moaning of Life ended on Sky One, Karl returns to the channel with his first scripted comedy, Sick of It, which he co-wrote and co-created with Richard Yee who was Executive Producer on The Moaning of Life and An Idiot Abroad.

Despite his initial reluctance at starring in Sick of It, Karl has ended up playing two characters, both named Karl. One's a downbeat taxi driver with a default setting of miserable, who lives with his Auntie Norma and the other is his slightly more positive inner voice.

He's not in a relationship, he doesn't have many (if any) friends, apart from his own inner voice who very clearly is his best friend. The only other character who's present throughout the series is his Auntie Norma played by Sondra James.

Introducing the first two episodes in front of an audience of journalists, cast and crew at BAFTA last week (19th September), Karl was hesitant to call Sick of It a comedy, revealing "It isn't that funny, it's more sad if anything". Which is only partly true because Sick of It is sad, but it's also very very funny. And that's exactly what audiences want from their comedies in 2018.

Gone are the days when the best comedies on television are the gag-a-minute studio sitcoms filmed in front of a live audience. Audiences much prefer their comedies these days to focus on character and plot and they demand humour which is far more nuanced, which is exactly what Karl has achieved with Sick of It.

Across the six superb episodes, Karl takes his old sofa for a walk instead of attending his uncle's funeral, makes a life-changing decision after taking a baby to a nightclub, goes on holiday on his own, takes a trip down memory lane in Eastbourne, decides that he wants to win his ex-girlfriend Zoe back and spends the entire final episode needing a shit.

Most of the humour in Sick of It comes from Karl's unique, witty observations. The type we fell in love with all those years ago on The Ricky Gervais Show. For example, Karl explains why James Bond has chosen the wrong outfit, why funerals should take place in rush hour and why eating on your own is better than eating socially.

And it's through the relationship he has with his inner voice that the script is able to deliver both humour and pathos. It's there to encourage and discourage and it's also there to observe the many poignant life-changing realisations Karl makes throughout the series.

Speaking of which, if you're not left with a lump in your throat at the end of episode two and a tear in your eye at the end of episode five, then I'd be very surprised.

It's also quite refreshing to not see a comedy littered with big name guest stars, instead the cameos include Line of Duty's Craig Parkinson, Benidorm's Perry Benson and up-and-coming comedians Lou Sanders, Sindhu Vee and Mark Silcox.

In a year where British comedy has been so strong, Sick of It is up there with the best. My only criticism is that Sky aren't releasing the whole series in one go. Unlike most comedies, Sick of It really merits a binge watch. The compromise is two episodes each week so you can either watch at the linear pace or wait until all six have aired.

Karl will be the first person to put down his work and label Sick of It as "not any good" and deny that he's an actor and I will be the first person to argue against both those opinions. The quality of writing in Sick of It is to be admired and the range of emotions felt as a viewer is rare for a comedy.

As for his acting, Karl has more than proved himself as an actor with not one, but two brilliant performances, each unique in their delivery. I know it's too early to know for sure, but I really hope Sky decide to commission a second series.

Sick of It airs Thursdays at 10pm on Sky One


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