Serial: BBC Radio 4 Extra to broadcast hit American true crime podcast

Sarah Koenig's series re-examines the events surrounding student Hae Min Lee's murder 15 years ago

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The Independent Culture

An online podcast series which has been accessed 21 million times since its launch in October is to be broadcast by the BBC.

Serial, which re-examines a real-life US high school murder case, has topped download charts in around the world.

The tenth episode was released online only yesterday.

The series is to be broadcast by Radio 4 Extra from Sunday.

The station has already built links with its creators after airing another of its programmes, This American Life, earlier this year.

In Serial, journalist Sarah Koenig unfolds her examination of the circumstances surrounding the death of student Hae Min Lee in Baltimore County, Maryland, in 1999.

Hae Min Lee’s former boyfriend Adnan Syed, who was her classmate at Woodlawn High School, was sentenced to life imprisonment for her murder. He has always maintained his innocence.

The series’ finale, which features interviews, legal papers and Koenig's narration of how she pieces the story together, is expected to appear online on 18 December.

Radio 4 Extra - the first station to air the programmes - will broadcast the episodes each day at 9pm, finishing on the same day the podcast reaches its conclusion.

Serial has been such a success that fans and sponsors have pledged to finance another series, although the subject has not been decided.

Gwyneth Williams, controller of the station, said: "We are thrilled to be sharing Serial's innovative journalism and storytelling with our audiences on Radio 4 Extra."

Ira Glass, editorial adviser for Serial said: "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."