Last week, an incomplete scene featuring Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor surreptitiously hit the web, giving fans eager for leaks and spoilers a taste of what to expect from the next season of Doctor Who. But while in the entertainment business leaks and spoilers are part and parcel of the industry, in this case, the BBC is none too pleased about it.
In fact, the corporation has filed an application in a California court this week in an effort to expose the person who put the leaked footage online—hoping California’s Federal Court would put pressure on Tapatalk, whose messaging service was used to upload and disseminate a non-final, 53-second clip of Whittaker’s Doctor in action. The BBC isn’t accusing Tapatalk of any wrongdoing; rather, it just wants details on the user that uploaded the clip, so it can attempt to isolate just where in Doctor Who’s long line of production the clip got leaked.
In a statement provided to, well, itself sort of, the BBC said that it was taking court action so that fans could “enjoy the final and fully completed version of the episode when it premieres,” but it’s about more than the integrity of the fan experience here, given that the clip was allegedly pretty clearly unfinished. And while the BBC would prefer that no sneaky footage of one of the most highly anticipated seasons of Doctor Who in a while is out there before it says so, it especially doen’t want it out there if it’s footage that’s not been edited into the version fans will eventually see on TV.
There’s a good possibility that the complete version of the clip will be revealed at Comic-Con in a couple of weeks—Doctor Who is set to have a big panel in Hall H featuring the new Doctor herself, after all, and if there was going to be a glimpse of her new adventures any time soon, that’d be the place to drop it. So instead of seeing it in an illegal unfinished form, you might get to watch it from someone’s grainy, shaky phone-filming of a projection screen, as the TV gods intended.