In 2007, I saw a production of Wicked starring Nigel Planer as the Wizard, and in my search for a clip of it on YouTube later, I discovered Robert Llewellyn’s YouTube channel. I’d already been a fan of Red Dwarf and was thrilled to find all his great non-televised content at my fingertips. Carpool, which existed long before Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee or James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke segment, is a talk show (or chat show, as they call it abroad) that takes place in a car. Llewellyn finds celebrities and other interesting people who genuinely need a lift somewhere, such as to the BBC studios, and he does a multi-camera, mic-ed recording of their conversation as he drives them there. Llewellyn is a charming host who asks all the right questions and doesn’t have that yeck ego/persona factor you get from a lot of televised chat show hosts.
For a short time, Carpool was picked up by channel Dave, but then went back to being web-only. The extended versions are worth watching for free on your computer worldwide, as opposed to the cable network abroad versions which are cut down to fit the half-hour format, even if they were higher budget. Although we’ve been teased by future episodes starring Stephen Mangan, etc., there have been no new episodes in a year or more, while Llewellyn is focusing on his new web show, Fully Charged.
For the Red Dwarf fans, there are episodes with Craig Charles, Danny John Jules, Chris Barrie, Hattie Hayrdige, Rob Grant, and Ed Bye. For everyone else, you have Chris Addison talking about working with Peter Capaldi on The Thick of It, Graham Linehan talking about working with the actors of The IT Crowd during rehearsal to write better lines, Dave Gorman still being friends with some of the Dave Gormans he met around the world, Ben Goldacre talking about Simon Singh’s court case with the British Chiropractor Association, Cory Doctorow using scraps of his junk paper as endsheets in his print-on-demand book and how anyone who finds a typo gets a footnote in the book going forward, Tony Hawks carrying a fridge around, Brian Cox describing his non-belief in gods, Jon Ronson talking The Men Who Stare at Goats and how he didn’t actually run through a wall like Ewan McGregor does in the film, Duncan Jones talking Moon, Tim Vine teaching Robert to make puns (one of my favorite episodes), and even skateboarder Bob Burnquist who has always been my favorite skateboarder. Not to mention Ruby Wax, Stephen Fry, Charlie McDonnell, Richard Herring, Jo Brand, Patrick Stewart, John Lloyd, Rob Brydon, David Mitchell, Nigel Planer, Jonathan Ross…I mean it really is quite an impressive roster, and quality interviews as well.