So I pick up my Guardian on the way to work this morning, and there above the masthead is a promotion for the new Ricky Gervais podcast. No further explanation or page reference, just the Guardian's website URL. The webpage has a quick self-deprecating introduction ("A half-hour of all-new drivel from Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington...") and simple links to the MP3/MP4 files and RSS feeds.
Nothing particularly remarkable then, but perhaps that's half the point. The audio has the bare minimum of production (a cheesy musical into at the beginning is about it) and is basically just the three blokes rambling at each other for half an hour. But that's what podcasting is all about.
The content is entertaining enough - despite being unscripted, unplanned and unstructured - and you get a feel for the personalities coming across. Of course, it does go on a bit in places, and the content isn't nearly good enough for a radio station or stand-up show. It will be interesting to see how the show develops week to week though. They promote an e-mail address at the end (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the Guardian's site is taking questions, and so I imagine that these responses will feed quite heavily into future shows.
In conclusion, then, Gervais and co. have done well to enter the podcasting world in the bravest way: just get started. They've missed a trick by not having more of a web presence to back it up (show notes, comments and other meta data have become a bit of a podcast convention now), but maybe this will come later.
No doubt some will find the show a bit shit. If the Guardian can do a Ricky Gervais podcast so simply though, maybe they can do a few more with other personalities?