BBC Radio 4 Extra brings global hit show Serial to British radio audiences

We are thrilled to be sharing Serial’s innovative journalism and storytelling with our audiences on Radio 4 Extra.Gwyneth Williams, Controller, Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra
Date: 05.12.2014     Last updated: 05.12.2014 at 15.19
British radio listeners can hear the global hit show Serial (from the creators of This American Life) this December on Radio 4 Extra. The first episode will be on Sunday 7 December at 9pm, with daily episodes broadcast until the network joins the non-fictional story as it reaches its final stage - which will go out on the same day worldwide.

Serial is a new podcast series that has had phenomenal success around the world, hosted by journalist Sarah Koenig. It follows the harrowing true story of an investigation into a murder of the high-school student Hae Min Lee in Baltimore County in 1999. This will be the first-ever radio broadcast for the series.

Hae’s 17 year-old ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison. The case against him was largely based on the story of one witness, Adnan’s friend Jay, who testified that he helped to bury Hae’s body. Adnan has always maintained he had nothing to do with the murder. Sarah Koenig learned about Adnan’s case more than a year ago and started to go through the legal documents and investigator’s notes, listening to trial testimony and police interrogations. She is also talking to everyone she can find who remembers what happened 15 years ago.

In Serial, with a new podcast episode released each week, Koenig takes listeners on an absorbing and personal journey looking into the 15 year-old case for new evidence and the story behind what happened on the day of the crime. As the production team have said, “we won’t know what happens at the end of the story until we get there, not long before you get there with us”.

The series has been reportedly downloaded and streamed more than 21 million times, topping download charts in countries ranging from the US to Germany to India.

Ira Glass, Editorial Advisor for Serial says: “We know we already have tons of Serial listeners in the UK but we love that the BBC will help us reach many many more than we ever could with podcast alone.”

Gwyneth Williams, Controller, Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra says: “We are thrilled to be sharing Serial’s innovative journalism and storytelling with our audiences on Radio 4 Extra.

"I was keen to broadcast Serial as it is so imaginative and gripping - in its dealing with important issues of justice and delicate telling of the human effects of a puzzling murder. Radio 4 (and our smart listeners) are very much part of the digital revolution in speech- with The Listening Project, Radio 4 in 4 minutes and a wealth of other rich content. I am inviting listeners to immerse themselves in War and Peace on New Year's Day and this is made far more available and alluring as we can now download it and listen whenever we like to this seminal work. These are exciting times for Radio - which is proving to be a very modern medium indeed."

Notes to Editors

BBC Radio 4 Extra is the sister network to BBC Radio 4 and broadcasts the best speech programmes from the BBC’s sound archive as well as occasional new offerings. Radio 4 Extra carefully selects and curates broadcast drama, entertainment, readings and features for those who love speech radio.

In May 2014 Radio 4 Extra broadcast a selection of 13 episodes of This American Life.

Serial will run from Sun 7th Dec at 9pm daily, in respect of the original podcasts all durations will vary.

The series is produced by WBEZ Chicago

AFG