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Last Updated: Monday, 28 November 2005, 16:35 GMT
Gervais radio show to be podcast
Ricky Gervais
Gervais is returning to radio early next month
Award winning comedian Ricky Gervais to present a series of weekly podcast shows that will be available for download over the internet.

The Office star will host a weekly independent talk show to be podcast by the Guardian Unlimited website.

"I want to do a radio show where I can say what I want, when I want and that's free for anybody who can be bothered to listen," said Gervais.

The show reunites Gervais and Stephen Merchant with producer Karl Pilkington.

Pilkington previously worked with Gervais and Merchant on their Saturday afternoon show on Xfm.

"I suppose we are trying to create an exclusive club," Gervais told the Guardian Unlimited website. "We'd prefer this to be a few people's favourite show than a huge same-y, ineffectual broadcast."

Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais on the set of Extras
The radio show reteams Gervais with writing partner Merchant (l)

Gervais and Merchant, with whom he co-wrote The Office and recent hit sitcom Extras, met in radio and co-hosted a show on commercial radio station Xfm for two years.

They returned to the London station for a six-week stint this summer.

The show will be available on the website from 5 December. Guardian Unlimited editor-in-chief Emily Bell called Gervais and Merchant's humour "perfect for our audience, both here and in the US".

Trial success

Podcasting has become an increasingly popular medium for radio audiences. The BBC began a seven-month podcasting trial in May.

Around 20 programmes are taking part in the trial, including Radio 4's Today programme and Five Live's Sportsweek.

The trial allows users to save audio files from the BBC's website to their personal computers.

Files can then be downloaded to portable MP3 player, which can be played at any time.

Radio 4's In Our Time, hosted by Melvyn Bragg, became the most popular podcast in September averaging 30,000 download requests a week.

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