While I’ve never been in the screenplay-handling business, I’d have to imagine that in the past, transporting scripts would be as easy as putting them in a locked box and bringing them from place to place. But we live in the digital age now, and it’s seemingly much easier to store things securely online. That is, until everyone in the world is given accidental access to the very thing being stored, which was the case with Doctor Who‘s highly anticipated Season 8, which saw five entire scripts leaked out into the spoiler-loving world of Internet geekery.
As you can imagine, no one at BBC Worldwide is pleased with this, and they have issued a statement through Radio Times that apologizes to the fans, cast, and crew, as well as pleading for anyone with access to the scripts to keep it to themselves and not to spoil everything for the entire planet. Wisely, they point out that “Doctor Who fans are the best in the world,” which I’d concur with. Whovians are more prone to pick an already-aired episode to death rather than crudely push sensitive materials out onto the unsuspecting public.
Apparently, the leak occurred as the scripts were sent to BBC Worldwide’s newly established Latin America headquarters in Miami. The scripts were being translated into different languages, since the show airs all over the world. (And the first episode’s will be aired globally via simulcast.) It appears someone in the Miami office’s IT department didn’t set up enough security protocols, which allowed pretty much anyone to access their folders without any hacking trickery. According to a Radio Times commenter, there were also MP4s of the five episodes in the same folder, though no one appears to have done anything with those.
The name that appears on each page as a watermark reportedly is not the person responsible for the leak, incidentally, though I’m sure he’ll get an earful from creator Stephen Moffat.
The first episode, “Deep Breath,” was one of the ones leaked, and the BBC is asking for publications to keep mum on the names of the other four episodes (although they’re easy to find.) To me, reading the script for “Deep Breath” would do nothing to convey what will presumably be the best parts of the episode, namely Peter Capaldi’s performance as the Twelfth Doctor, and the direction of mastermind Ben Wheatley, perhaps best known for Kill List and the upcoming adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s High-Rise.
Whether you’ve already read the scripts or not, Doctor Who‘s eighth season will debut on August 23.