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BBC to take legal action over leaked Series 11 footage

The BBC has gone to court to try to gain information which could help the organisation determine the source of recently-leaked footage of the upcoming eleventh series of Doctor Who.

Last week an unfinished 53-second clip featuring new Doctor Jodie Whittaker was released online via the US-based mobile community platform Tapatalk. BBC Studios has since removed the footage from Tapatalk and other social media platforms, and has opened up an investigation into the incident.

As part of this investigation the BBC has requested that the California Federal Court issues a subpoena to Tapatalk, which would require the platform to produce details which may help to identify the individual responsible for the leak. Tapatalk itself has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

A spokesperson for BBC Studios has said:

“[We take] theft and illegal distribution of our content extremely seriously.

“[We] will strive to protect our programme-makers, audiences and licence fee payers from any breaches of security – ensuring Doctor Who fans enjoy the final and fully completed version of the episode when it premieres.” 

This is not the first time that unauthorised material featuring a new Doctor has been released in advance. In 2014 BBC Worldwide issued a plea to fans not to share scripts and unfinished footage from Peter Capaldi’s debut series which had accidentally been made publicly available. In 2005, meanwhile, a leak of Christopher Eccleston’s first episode Rose – also the first of the show’s revival – led to the individual responsible having their employment terminated as a result.

This most recent leaked footage has appeared online a matter of weeks before this year’s Doctor Who panel at San Diego Comic-Con, featuring Jodie Whittaker alongside fellow cast and crew. Although the Doctor Who panels at SDCC have traditionally featured previews of upcoming series, it is unknown whether the leaked footage was or is intended to be shown in its completed form at the convention.

The eleventh series of Doctor Who is currently in production and is due to air this autumn on BBC One and BBC America.

[Source: BBC News]