Monkey news!

The Ricky Gervais podcast has passed 2 million downloads:

“Usually, in order to be heard by millions of people you have to do a show on Radio 1 or Radio 2,” said Gervais. “The problem is, those stations expect you to be competent and professional. We had to find a way around that.” …

“To have such a huge success with a podcast so early in the medium’s development is enormously encouraging,” said Emily Bell, the editor in chief of Guardian Unlimited.

“Guardian Unlimited’s approach to podcasting, as with all new opportunities that the internet opens, is that we want to challenge assumptions and exceed expectations of what a newspaper website is and what it can deliver.”

Challenge assumptions, indeed.

: And by the way, a great new line from Pilkington delivering monkey news in the latest ‘cast: “A chimp off the old block.”

  • Karl

    “I could eat a knob at night!”

  • I can’t help but laugh at the mere mention of ‘toffee shop,’ now.

  • While I think it’s great the Guardian are doing a Podcast like this I must say I really didn’t think much of it. Ricky Gervais is fast approaching one trick pony status in my eyes…he needs a new type of act or comedic angle before he’s forgotten like Ali G.

  • There is still a touch of the old fashioned mentality there at the Guardian. Their web site says that the Ricky Gervais podcast is “Exclusively available online from Guardian Unlimited”.

    Not really.

    First, when you go to their site and click on the link to download the podcast, you are taken to the audio file, which is hosted not on the Guardian’s site but on Gervais’s own page, That is his own site, with a copyright by him listed at the end.

    Second, of course, you can download it at iTunes or subscribe to the feed without bothering to go back to the Guardian’s site.

    Still, this is quite an extraordinary move for a newspaper company, or at least a company which started out as one. Hopefully others will learn from it.

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  • Gray_

    Jeff, I’m a little bit surprised that there’s no post here about the WaPo ombuds(wo)man controversy and the shutdown of the related discussion forum. After all, this is a perfect example about the problems traditional print media have in embracing new forms of interactive publishing. You wrote a lot about these problems, why do you avoid the WaPo story? What’s your opinion on Howell and Brady?

  • Gray… I was working all day and had no time to post. Bloggers gotta eat.

  • Mr. Buzz or anyone else for that matter:

    As was the case when websites reported “page views” vs. “unique visitors” I am a bit confused and skeptical about the term “downloads” as are the marketers I talk with. It may just be a BIG number that reflects that we all have BIG hard drives for storing even Podcasts that we may never listen to.

    Yes, I get what downloads mean (the number of files distributed, right?) but what marketers, circulation directors and I are wondering is “How many of the Podcasts have been listened to?”

    Can you’all help me out here? Is there a way to track this?



  • I’ve dowloaded all seven podcasts over the last several weeks. But I’m just one person.

  • Peter, my ears prick up whenever people talk about audiences, to hear exactly what words they use. Every kind of audience measurement has pros and cons.

    “Downloads” is a pretty basic way to measure audience; it just means how many times all of his podcast episodes have swished off the server. You have to bear in mind that this is two million downloads over several episodes, so the total audience is likely in the hundreds of thousands.

    Which brings us to a measurement that’s useful in a different way: number of subscribers. Services like can work out the equivalent of how many unique users are requesting the podcasts. This is typically a much lower number than ‘downloads’ and doesn’t tend to get used very often… many publishers don’t even bother to measure it.

    Knowing how many people subscribe is useful because it lets you track the ongoing popularity of your show. People who subscribe are typically more dedicated audience members, so you’re getting closer to knowing your ‘real’ audience size.

    In answer to the final part of your question, I think Audible has invented an audio format that can report back how much of the file was listened to… but I don’t know whether it’s in wide use yet. IIRC, it’s supported by the iPod, so that’s a big plus towards its potential market.

  • I really enjoy the Ricky Gervais podcast. I can see how some people might not like it because it’s basically three blokes sitting around and jawing, and not everyone is going to share their sense of humor.

    It makes great listening while shopping at the grocery store.

    Now if someone would explain to me the best way to get podcasts without screwing with iTunes. I really, really dislike iTunes.

    P.S. I’m not sure the distinction between “downloaded” and “listened to” is all that significant. Even though one is obviously going to be higher than the other, it’s still a good proxy. After all, television ratings can’t actually show how many people actually sat in front of their television sets and watched the program, as opposed to fixed a snack or changed the laundry. Or maybe a better analogy would be to books sold vs. books read.

  • It’s a great podcast, and it inspired me to create Monkey News – the website for a bit of fun.

  • Does anyone know where you can get the first six episodes of the podcast? The iTunes store and the website only have the last six.
    Also does anyone have the transcript of the Monkey News? That is brilliant!

  • Colin

    Marcus, the earlier eps are floating around as BitTorrents – find a BitTorrent client and do a search at a good BitTorrent search engine for the Torrent file.

    Failing that, if anybody wants a particular episode, I can mail it to you – I have upto ep11 as of writing (13th feb), with the final part next week. Just give me a yell.

    As for avoiding ITunes, the Guardian site provides a direct link to the MP3 file – just right-click on it and select the ‘Save As…’ item in the menu. This will download the mp3 file directly, to be copied to your MP3 player. You don’t want to be messing with that ITunes nonesense – you don’t know where it’s been.

    For the record, I find RGs XFM podcasts more entertaining. They’re more or less the same formula, but a bit less studied, since they’re taken from an actual live radio show playing actual music, rather than a rather artificial ‘Pete and Dud’ scenario. You can also see the origins and evolution of half-human half-monkey Karl Pilkington.

    See the lot at:

    Note 2005 season is available as downloadable MP3s, while previous archived seasons are available as streamed files (though you can download these if you know how). There’s hours of the stuff through 2002-2005, and it’s all good stuff if you like Gervais, and free.

  • Art Vandelay

    “(though you can download these if you know how). ”

    Do Tell please

  • Joey

    All twelve episodes are available in one torrent now:

    Just download one of the many torrent download clients (Azureus, utorrent, BitComet etc.) and enter the above link.

  • tom

    a peanut is not a nut, it is a lagoon. phew.

  • Colin Jackson

    Sorry forgot to check back on this. If you want to download the streamed material (though it’s a bit of a pain as it’s all broken up into small files) go to the site and instead of clicking on the link to the streamed file, right-click on it and check the URL – that’s the location of the file. If you look through the files for any given episode, you can see the naming pattern of the files and quickly identify all the file URLS for that episode (alternatively use a URL Snooper such as, well, to identify the locations of the files.

    Then use a bulk stream downloader such as to download the files at download speeds rather than streaming speeds.

    Alternatively I’ve got the lot, so if anybody really wants them, mail me at the address in the post above and I’ll put them on rapidshare or something.

  • Colin Jackson
  • ema


  • Jay-K

    A peanut is not a nut it is a legume (a frech word), dumbass

  • joelyg

    The Ricky Gervais Show is quality. I still listen to one every day. KARL PILKINGTOM IS A LEGEND!

  • Even now March 2008 the podcasts are recommended hearing. I sometimes forget some of the crazy stuff he comes out with. Bit disappointed with the first book (Basically Scripts from Podcast 1) but the Second one was good. The legend lives bring Karl Back!

  • I’ve created a website where you can listen to all the shows they used to do on XFM before the podcasts.

    Check it out by going to the address below.