The BBC has experimented with Alexa skills before, including hosting a radio play you can interact with through an Amazon Echo or other Alexa-enabled device. However, its latest skill is more fully fledged and enables you to listen to live radio shows and its entire line-up of podcasts on demand, started by using your voice.

The BBC skill is available to download and enable now. Once enabled through the Alexa app on your smartphone or tablet, you can ask an Echo device for a specific BBC Radio station or podcast. You can also ask for "previous" episodes, which will then play if available.

Other commands that work include: "play", "pause" and "resume".

There are 10 national, six UK and 40 local radio stations on offer, plus thousands of hours of podcasts currently on the service. Indeed, 240 million podcasts were download via other apps or online portals in the last year alone.

"Smart speakers are an exciting new way of interacting with audio content. They’re a natural fit for the BBC as millions of people enjoy and rely on our audio programmes every day," said Matthew Postgate, the BBC's chief technology and product officer.

"Today we’re making sure audiences can find what they love from the BBC on any device they use, through one single and easy-to-use service. But there’s potential to do more and we’re just scratching the surface."

Support for other voice assistants, including Google Assistant, is planned for the future.