We admit, we’re a bit late to Serial, the most downloaded podcast ever, which now rakes in 1.5 million (and counting) listeners per episode. In America – and it’s an American podcast, made by the producers of the hugely popular radio show This American Life – it’s been a phenomenon for weeks, and word has now very firmly spread to these shores. But actually, it doesn’t really matter when you discover Serial as long as you listen to the episodes in order (and you can download them and listen to them while you are travelling, say, as well as through the i-cloud). They tell the story of Adnan Syed, who was convicted of the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee in 1999. He’s been in prison ever since, but the case against him is incredibly thin. It’s not conclusively, absolutely, slam-dunk see-through however, which is where the tension of the podcast lies. Sarah Koenig, who presents Serial, unpicks the evidence, bit by bit, which is compelling enough, but it’s her style of reporting that makes this podcast unlike any other investigation story you’ve seen on TV or heard on the radio. She is, at turns, surprised, ambivalent, disappointed and encouraged as she paintstakingly rakes over every detail of the case looking for clues, and she conveys all this entirely naturally, without any kind of performance. She’s just straightforwardly brilliant at both investigative journalism and story telling (with neither skill or art being compromised by the other), and that’s quite a rare thing. Plus, it helps that Syed, was, until his conviction, a young, high-achieving, well liked high school kid, and is articulate, intelligent and likeable whenever Koenig talks to him by telephone. It’s easy to root for him. It all adds up to a totally gripping series. We’re on episode ten and are dying to hear the final two podcasts, which will be released this Thursday and next. Until then, no one knows what will happen, including Koenig, who is still unravelling her story as she tells it. Listen now!

Serial is told in weekly in instalments. Listen in order anytime. Episode 11 goes out Thursday 11 December.
— Daisy
8th December 2014