How did new Doctor Who scripts including Deep Breath leak online?

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The new series of BBC drama Doctor Who returns on 23 August, but some of its scripts have already leaked online, including the hotly-anticipated first episode: Deep Breath.

Given the show's growing global popularity, and its huge tech-savvy fanbase, the demand for these kinds of leak is no surprise, but how on earth did the material become public?

Security expert Graham Cluley has a pithy answer for that. "Probably the very last thing you should do is leave five of the scripts lying around on a public web server that can be indexed by search engines," he blogged, after the leak became public. "And yet, that's exactly what someone did."

Cluley's blog post is accompanied by a screenshot of the BBC Miami server where fans found the scripts for episodes one, two, four and five of the new series in PDF form.

"It appears that the scripts became accessible to anyone with a web browser after being sent to the BBC’s new Latin American headquarters for translation," added Cluley. While they've now been removed "you don’t have to be a master of the Celestial Toymaker’s trilogic game to find them elsewhere online."

The BBC has apologised for the leak, and urged fans not to share the scripts with a wider audience "so that everyone can enjoy the show as it should be seen when it launches".

Cluley notes that leaks have been an unwanted part of the story of Doctor Who since its relaunch in 2005, from pre-air torrents and Blu-ray box-sets sent out too early, through to a rehearsal script being left in the back of a taxi.

It's tempting to suggest that leaks fuel the buzz around upcoming shows rather than put people off watching – if you're a Doctor Who fan, the prospect of reading a script may be fascinating, but it's not a substitute for actually watching the episode.

However, the BBC will surely be learning its lesson from the latest leak: it would be extremely surprising if future scripts and assets turn up on public, indexable servers.

Doctor Who's Sonic Screwdriver? There's an official app for thatPowered by article was written by Stuart Dredge, for on Tuesday 8th July 2014 08.40 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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