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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 February 2006, 17:25 GMT
Gervais charges for podcast show
Ricky Gervais
Gervais was first acclaimed for playing The Office's David Brent
Comedian Ricky Gervais is to make fans pay for his popular podcast, having previously released episodes for free.

The weekly comedy show, which is among the most downloaded podcasts on the internet, will be sold via the Audible and iTunes services.

Twelve episodes had been made available without charge by The Guardian newspaper's website.

Stephen Merchant, who wrote The Office and Extras with Gervais, appeared alongside producer Karl Pilkington.

The show largely consists of Gervais and Merchant teasing Pilkington for his idiotic ideas, including his regular Monkey News bulletin of news stories about apes.

Fans will have to pay $6.95 (4) for at least four instalments of the programme.

The show's producers have contacted the Guinness Book of Records to lay claim to the most downloaded podcast, with an average of 295,000 per episode.

A French version of The Office was recently announced, following the success of a US reworking of the BBC series.

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