Let's face it: grabbing a camera and filming a chatshow in your own car is a bit of an odd thing to do. In fact, there's an extremely short shortlist of people who might potentially do such a thing: a) drunken students, b) that deranged, wannabe-celebrity Robert De Niro played in The King of Comedy, and c) Alan Partridge. But smirk and scoff not, for one man – the great Robert Llewellyn, no less – went and did it anyway, and by golly Carpool's only gone and become one of the funniest, most insightful and just plain brilliant chatshows on the humble tellybox. Just goes to show what you can achieve with a bit of original thinking and a hearty dollop of showbiz mates.
It was back in 2009 that Robert Llewellyn decided to try his hand a presenting a chat show, but without finances to hire a studio or pay exorbitant appearance fees, he came up with a unique idea - he would offer his prospective guests a lift in his own car. In return they would allow him to film the conversations that unravelled along the way. Robert got to work with modern mini cams and radio microphones and Carpool was born.
In the early days, the host relied upon his contacts from the world of comedy and entertainment. Guests included Ruby Wax, Nigel Planer, David Baddiel, Craig Charles and Jo Brand. Once filmed, Robert edited the videos himself at home and then posted them on his website. Talk about multitasking – we reckon most telly celebs would struggle with opening their email inbox. The best thing is Robert only did it for a bit of a laugh, and had no idea just how popular it his baby would become. What started as a humble experiment soon went all Bieber and became a genuine Internet sensation, getting downloaded millions of times (and not just by Red Dwarf fans and/or people unhealthily obsession with characters whose heads look like Dungeons and Dragons dice).
Of course, it was only a matter of time before the TV bods sat up and peered hungrily at what Robert had going, and before you can say "Terry Wogan's weeping jealous tears of jealousy", this humble but revolutionary chatshow was rebooted for television, with a brand spanking new… Well, probably some stuff was new, but luckily having the many pennies of TV thrown at it didn't actually change Carpool's essential, gloriously straightforward format. It's still just Robert driving celebs around while having a good old natter, only this time specially for Dave. And by the way, is that a sort of pun? Carpool being rebooted? Get it - car, boot? We're sorry this sentence actually began. Truly.
So about those celebrity guests. Well, Carpool's featured just about everyone worth having a jaunty, road-bound conversation with, from Richard Herring and Tim Vine to Tim Minchin and Rob Brydon. All letting their guards down and yapping away as if to an old, old friend (or to a taxi driver). It’s no surprise the show works so well, as it's rare to see celebs at their most "real" and ordinary – unless of course they're in the Big Brother house, weeping and cracking eggs open on their foreheads. Robert Llewellyn is also the ideal host/driver, being the affable chap and thoroughly lovely guy that he is. Plus it must be nice for him to get away from all those scrapheaps. Question is, does he expect a tip?