Ricky Gervais podcast gets 2m downloads halfway through series

LONDON - It is only halfway through the series yet 'The Ricky Gervais Show' on Guardian Unlimited has been downloaded more than 2m times.

The online series, which features all-new material, was launched in December and soon became the most popular podcast in the UK and the US, toppling Chris Moyle's BBC Radio One breakfast show off the UK top spot.

This week's episode, the seventh in the series, features Gervais, Steve Merchant and Karl Pilkington discussing things such as: the pictorial canonisation of St Karl the Bewildered; how fingers that do dishes can feel soft as your face; and sound advice on maintaining good neighbourly relations.

Gervais said: "Usually, in order to be heard by millions of people you have to do a show on Radio One or Two. The problem is, those stations expect you to be competent and professional. We had to find a way round that."

Emily Bell, editor-in-chief at Guardian Unlimited, said: "To have such a huge success with a podcast so early in the medium's development is enormously encouraging.

"Guardian Unlimited's approach to podcasting, as with all new opportunities that the internet opens, is that we want to challenge assumptions and exceed expectations of what a newspaper website is and what it can deliver. "

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