Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant are to make an animated series for America’s HBO network, based on their record-breaking podcasts.
The 13 half-hour episodes, due to air next year, could make an unlikely star of sidekick Karl Pilkington, whose strange opinions they mercilessly mock.
‘Karl is a man who believes that a sea lion is a cross between a fish and a dog,’ the pair told Hollywood trade paper Variety. ‘Hopefully, Karl will enter the pantheon of animated greats.’
Modi Wiczyk of Media Rights Capital, which is producing the show, added: ‘They find him to be the funniest person in the world. Ricky says Karl is like crack to him.’
The show started out on XFM in London, but in 2005 was made into a podcast, becoming the most downloaded in history, with an average of 261,670 downloads per episode in its first month.
Several of Pilkington's podcast ramblings have already been animated, thanks to fans posting home-made cartoons on the internet. Here is one of them:
Gervais, Merchant and Pilkington will be executive producers of the animated show, which is being co-produced by Wildbrain, the animation studio behind the kids’ show Yo Gabba Gabba.