TV & Satellite Week talks to Karl Pilkington about eating dog, getting a proper job and why the pyramids are rubbish, as he appears in Sky1’s new travel show An Idiot Abroad (Sky2, Fridays)

You’re presenting a travel programme – how did that come about?
“Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant sent me off to see some of the so-called wonders of the world. I went to Egypt, Brazil, India, Mexico, China, Peru and Jordan. I thought it would be like Michael Palin’s travel programmes or Wish You Were? and everything would be amazing, but it wasn’t.”

So the wonders of the world disappointed you?
“The pyramids were the biggest let-down. A lot of people say they’re amazing, but only because they think that’s what you’re supposed to say. I was shocked at how bad they were. It’s like a building site with bits of old brick everywhere, and a tornado blowing the rubbish people have left, like nappies and crisp packets, in your face. Yes, the pyramids are old, but that’s not enough to make them amazing.”

Did you have concerns about the trip before you set off?
“I did about the food, because I knew there would be things I wouldn’t want to eat. In China I ate dog without knowing it. They weren’t even filming me at the time. I was in a cafe where they brought a lot of food to the table and I started tucking in before anyone told me what it was.”

They say travel broadens the mind. Would you disagree?
“What I’ve learned from this is that nothing ever lives up to your expectations. You’d be best going to these places thinking they’re going to be rubbish. Then at least you wouldn’t be disappointed when you get there.”

What do you normally do for your holidays?
“I like a beach holiday where I can take my book and my i-Pod. I leave it to my girlfriend Suzanne to book our holidays. We went to Venice once, and I thought that was going to be all romantic. But when you get there it stinks, it’s flooded and it’s hard work getting to where you want to be.”

How did you meet Ricky and Stephen?
“I got a job as a producer on a radio station called XFM and I was put to work on their show.”

Was becoming a celebrity and having your own TV series one of your ambitions?
“I’m not a celebrity. Yes, I’ve got a TV series, but there are so many channels now, it’s easier to get on telly than it is to get a lot of normal jobs. Nothing’s changed about me, except that now people I don’t know come up to say hello. I don’t go out to fancy places and I don’t want to be appearing in the papers.”

Do you plan on doing any more TV shows?
“I’m probably not going to do any more. Sky wanted another series, but I’d rather be at home with Suzanne watching DVDs than making TV programmes. This is not proper work, it’s not what I wanted to do and it’s not great.”

So what are you going to do?
“It doesn’t matter what I do as long as I can pay my bills, I’m thinking of just working with my mate Kevin doing DIY.”