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The BBC puts its marketing weight behind a new podcast-first production

Which, I believe, is the first time they've done so.

I’ve mentioned the BBC’s growing experiments with podcasting a few times — and now we have another one in the form of a really interesting podcast-first project called Intrigue: The Ratline. The nonfiction production takes form of a new ten-part series in which the renowned barrister Philippe Sands investigates the case of Otto von Wächter, a senior Austrian Nazi indicted for mass murder, who escaped justice after the Second World War.

Intrigue: The Ratline ticks a few obvious boxes content-wise: popular history, true crime, legal thriller. Sands has been granted access by von Wächter’s son, and the publicity material promises some hefty new discoveries over the series. More interesting to me, though, is the fact that the show has had a pretty coordinated PR campaign behind it from the BBC, and as such has been picking up some good coverage and reviews that make much of it as a standalone podcast. The Intrigue strand isn’t new, and has bounced around different feeds and documentary slots, so it’s good to see it get an actual identity of its own.

Whereas previously it was always a bit tricky to find out about new podcasts from the corporation, since they often got buried among the flood of radio catch up output, it looks like some effort has gone into making this one stand out. Perhaps this is a result of Jason Phipps, the new commissioner of podcasts, taking control of the form and preventing podcasting ending up as a footnote to radio in the BBC’s communications strategy.