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Pilkington gained prominence as the producer of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's radio programme on XFM. He appeared on The Ricky Gervais Show, presented the Sky travel comedy series An Idiot Abroad, and made his full acting debut (following a cameo appearance in the final episode of Extras) on Gervais' 2012 comedy-drama series Derek. Pilkington is a co-founder, along with Gervais and Merchant, of RiSK Productions, a television production company. Pilkington recently starred in the Sky 1 travel documentary comedy series The Moaning of Life (2013–2015). This is his first show to not have any involvement from either Gervais or Merchant.