Belfast Telegraph

The Archers tops podcast list

Radio 4's traditional "everyday story of country folk", The Archers, is the BBC's biggest hit with gadget-friendly listeners - as new figures show it is the most popular podcast of the past decade.

Figures compiled to mark the 10th anniversary of BBC podcasts show editions of the show - for daily and omnibus versions - have been downloaded almost 74 million times.

Radio 4 programmes make up half of the top 10, with Radio 1's Scott Mills - currently starring in Strictly Come Dancing - the highest ranked DJ in the list, having amassed 53 million downloads.

Ambridge fans have clocked up 63.4 million downloads of the daily shows and 10.4 million of the weekly omnibus.

As these have been counted separately in the all-time list, compiled since In Our Time became the first BBC podcast in November 2004, it means that Radio 4's Friday Night Comedy podcast - made up of The News Quiz and The Now Show - tops the list with 70.4 million.

Figures show podcasting continues to be hugely popular for BBC programmes, with The Archers still accounting for around 2.2 million downloads each month as programmes have been embraced by smartphone users.

The BBC said there have been more than 1.1 billion UK downloads of BBC podcasts since the first availability in 2004. A full service was launched in 2007.

Helen Boaden, the director of BBC Radio, said: "I am delighted to see that, 10 years after the BBC began offering podcasts, our programmes are being downloaded in record numbers. These figures show audiences' enduring appetite for a wide range of distinctive content and how digital media can bring brilliant programmes to an even wider audience. I hope podcast technologies continue to provide a boost to the whole radio industry."

:: Top 10 cumulative totals since launch

1. Friday Night Comedy from BBC Radio 4 (Radio 4) - 70,392,318

2. The Archers (Radio 4) - 63,398,512

3. Scott Mills Daily (Radio 1) - 53,362,748

4. Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo's Film Reviews (5 live) - 50,635,185

5. Desert Island Discs with Kirsty Young (Radio 4) - 35,382,402

6. Best of Today (Radio 4) - 32,351,772

7. Best of Chris Moyles (Radio 1) - 30,369,232

8. Best of Chris Moyles Enhanced (Radio 1) - 28,441,461

9. In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg (Radio 4) - 27,017,020

10. Documentaries (World Service) - 25,894,612

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