"We will be broadcasting a selection of the much celebrated US series on British radio for the first time. Selecting the best of this rich pool of programmes was a difficult task, so I asked colleagues on Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra, all of whom I knew were devotees, to suggest what they thought would sit comfortably on the network alongside the drama, the fiction, the comedy and show off the breadth of This American Life. The final 13 we settled on are just the tip of an impressive back catalogue.Presumably the idea was to choose episodes that are less current affairs heavy, covering more universal themes. If the ratings are good enough it might convince them to simply run the programme as broadcast on an ongoing basis. Or at least a few more people to subscribe to the podcast.
"Taking a theme each week Ira Glass and his team at Chicago Public Media weave interviews, stories, and music to take us on an intense journey into the lives of ordinary and extraordinary people and situations. This American Life experiments with a different way of telling stories. Listeners who have not heard Ira Glass’s quirky style before may find the pace a little unusual but it is that slow reveal, that ability to dance around a theme, to catch you unawares that is so captivating. The layers of people’s lives are peeled away and the exceptional and seemingly mundane become as vivid as a great movie or a great American painting."
Radio BBC Radio 4 Extra is presenting selected reruns of old episodes of This American Life from across its history from this weekend: