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Last Updated: Friday, 12 October 2007, 08:47 GMT 09:47 UK
BBC launches The Archers podcast
The Archers
The Archers had its first civil partnership last year
Long-running BBC radio soap opera The Archers is to be made available as a daily podcast.

Listeners will be able to download full episodes to their MP3 players as soon as they have been broadcast.

The Radio 4 drama, which joins more than 120 titles in the BBC's podcast service, will be available from Sunday.

The show is already available online, with fans able to hear recent episodes over the internet. But they have not previously been able to download them.

The show's "listen again" facility is currently accessed a million times a month.

The Archers, which began in 1950, has featured controversial storylines in recent years - including sedate Ruth Archer considering an affair and gay couple Adam Macy and Ian Craig tying the knot.

Farming audience

Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer said The Archers audience had already demonstrated they "love the chance to listen to the goings on in Ambridge" in their own time.

"Now - The Archers meets podcasting - a marriage, or civil partnership, between one of Radio 4's longest lasting hits and new technology," he said. "I anticipate nothing but happiness."

The show was first broadcast in the Midlands in 1950 and went national a year later.

It was originally aimed at a farming audience and, despite widening its appeal, still has an agricultural story editor.

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