Meet Felix Kjellberg - the new 'King of the Web'

His rapid rise has established him on Hollywood's radar

Swedish internet sensation Felix Kjellberg has been dubbed the latest 'King of the Web', so it is rather appropriate that after moving to the UK he has ended up living in Brighton's Regency Square.

The 24-year-old, whose online alter ego is PewDiePie, recently unseated Miley Cyrus as the world's most popular YouTube channel. He now has more than 15m subscribers - more than Sky and Virgin Media combined. His rapid rise has established him on Hollywood's radar as he appeared on the red carpet at the LA premiere last month of Harrison Ford's latest film, Ender's Game, with Italian girlfriend Marzia Bisognin.

The couple had been living with her parents in Italy but Kjellberg has now based himself in Brighton - a move he said was attractive not because of the proximity of the sea but because the UK's faster broadband connections.

Originally from Gothenburg, Kjellberg's recipe for success has been to film his reactions to playing action and horror video games and uploading the results on his YouTube channel, which he set up in April 2009 and called PewDiePie (think Cutie Pie, fans - or 'bros' as he calls them - say).

In 2011, Kjellberg quit Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden where he had been studying Industrial Economics and Technology Management to focus his growing YouTube celebrity status and it seems to have paid off.

More than 1,500 of his 'Let's Play' clips have been watched more than 2.7bn times. In October, when he knocked Miley Cyrus off her wrecking ball after the singer had temporarily overtaken him in the charts, Kjellberg racked up almost 200m views in that month alone and his fan base is global. Underneath a Q&A video where he revealed he was moving to England, girls from Czech Republic, the USA, Indonesia, Malaysia and many more countries left messages with dates when they first became a 'bro'.

Kjellberg's net-worth was estimated at £4 million when he had amassed 870m views - a figure he has more than trebled - with ad sales accounting for most of the channel's revenue.

Swedish columnist Lars Lindstrom said Kjellberg's popularity was down to being "a great comedian and a natural talent".

He said: "That Felix Kjellberg has a comic talent is indisputable. It is both amazingly awful and amazingly funny when a father bikes around with his son in the game Happy Wheels and both get crushed and bloody again and again and PewDiePie improvises absurd comments as the game continues. The secret is that he really loves to play these games and that he has fun doing it."

Kjellberg was not at home when the Independent tried to speak to him on Thursday but he told the Brighton Argus last weekend that while he may not yet be a household name in the UK, he gets mobbed on his travels. Discussing a recent trip to Singapore, he said: "They had to hold me back because there were so many fans. It was insane, the most unreal experience, literally like I was a rock star. I felt like I was part of The Beatles or something, people were screaming everywhere."

Neighbours at the 19th century sloping residential development that overlooks the burnt out remains of Brighton Pier were nonplussed by their superstar neighbour. A young couple arriving at the square's Hotel Una had never heard of Kjellberg, nor had a woman emerging from the same block of flats that he lives in.   

It may be a while before adults recognise him but an ever increasing number of 'bros' have taken Kjellberg to their hearts. Devoted fans have a chance to get even closer to their internet hero if they have a spare £210,000 - a sign in the window of Kjellberg's block of flats is advertising a ground floor flat for sale.

One elderly resident looked blankly when told who had arrived in Regency Square. "Mind you, I haven't heard of Miley Cyrus either," he smiled.

ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

    £35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

    Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

    £45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Bristol

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

    Juventus vs Real Madrid

    Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
    Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

    Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

    Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power