Friday, 12 June 2009

Robert Llewellyn's Carpool: Giving Vidcasts A Lift

“When I interview people, I never know what to do with my hands” commented Robert Llewellyn whilst chatting with Ruby Wax as he drove her across London.  Whilst this wasn’t the inspiration behind the birth of Carpool, it was a happy coincidence for its host.

The artist formerly known as Red Dwarf’s Kryten, Robert Llewellyn has a firm grasp on the modern, internet generation.  Unlike many of his peers who are baffled by concepts such as Twitter and Youtube, Llewellyn has embraced that this medium will soon bypass the current conventions such as TV and radio.  All he needed was a way to get a piece of the action.  Enter Carpool, one of the most unusual concepts for a talk show since Kenny Everett pioneed “Eat Your Guest”.

A self-confessed Petrolhead, Llewellyn has kitted out his car with an impressive array of microphones and cameras and offers to give his famous friends a lift to wherever they need to go in return for answering a few questions for his fans.  In London, the home of the congestion charge, this probably comes as quite a relief to residents who want to get to work quickly and efficiently.  Since the programmes birth earlier this year, Bobby has taken the likes of Stephen Fry, Tony Hawks, Chris Barrie, Craig Charles, Dom Joly and Ruby Wax to where they need to go and – in return – has supplied the Internet with some wonderful interviews in a very relaxed and unusual environment.

As an interviewer, Robert Llewellyn may not be taking over from a Jonathon Ross anytime soon, as there are times when he seems uncomfortable and slightly at a loss for words or – when with close friends like Chris Barrie – drifts off into slightly dull car talk.  If you love cars, then watching two Red Dwarf stars talk about the top-of-the-range super-turbo engines is nothing short of a wet dream…for the rest of the dry, non-petrolheads, it does cause you to wonder off in your mind.  But what we mustn’t forget in all of this is that the great chat show hosts of our time don’t have to worry about piloting a great big hunk of metal through a busy West End side street, so Robert can be forgiven for losing his thread from time to time.

A wonderfully unique concept, Robert Llewellyn has created what is essentially an online pilot for a TV series.  I hope that somebody somewhere pumps a bit more money in Robert’s direction to make Carpool into a well-polished TV-ready product.  Carpool is still worth watching for now though, as you never know who will hop in the car next.  Everybody needs to get somewhere at some point…the possibilities are endless!

Carpool Official Website