Doctor Who: The Impossible Leak?

As you likely know if you’re a fan of Doctor Who, next Sunday the finale for season seven will air.  It will be the last episode before the 50th Anniversary Special in November, and it promises to tell us, once and for all, what the deal is with Clara and her various incarnations.  Plus all the usual epic finale stuff, I’m sure, and maybe a setup for the Anniversary Special.  Waiting this last week sure is difficult!

…Unless you didn’t have to wait.  On Sunday, I woke up to this on my Facebook feed, via the Doctor Who page from BBCWorldwide:

We understand that a small number of US fans have received in error their DVD edition of Series 7 Part 2 early. We respectfully ask those fans not to divulge information or post content publicly so that fellow fans who have yet to see the episodes do not have their viewing pleasure ruined.

If everyone keeps the secrets safe until next Saturday we will release a special new clip featuring material of the Tenth AND Eleventh Doctor!

Well!  Keeping everything spoiler-free seemed like an impossible task, similar to when Ricky Gervais promises Twitter he’ll donate thousands of pounds to charity if no one replies or retweets him (dozens of people do, every single time).  Even though I don’t actively seek out spoilers, I wouldn’t have closed my eyes if the entire episode had wound up before me (picture Amy Pond watching the Doctor change in “Eleventh Hour”).  The Internet promised to be very interesting that day.

…Except, it wasn’t.  While there were stills and video of one man, who showed off the cover and blu-ray disc, that was it.  Just the one man.

Well, it was a Sunday, and it was possible that his mail had come exceptionally early, earlier that weekend.  If a shipment of discs had been sent out prematurely, surely on Monday we’d see things popping up all over the place – not spoilers or leaked copies, necessarily, but more people waving their early copies and grinning like fools.  Well, I know that’s what I would have done, anyway.

As I write this, on Tuesday, to the best of my knowledge there’s still only one person out there with photographic proof that he’s got an early Blu-Ray.  Three days, a public announcement from BBC, and pictures from only one person of the outside of a box.

So, the question becomes, is this a real leak at all?   Is it possible that the Internet is just full of people who really, really want that bonus material?   Here’s the evidence for and against:

Pro

It’s possible the “leak” is real.  The one guy who has the blu-ray has stated that BBCA actually called him at his house – presumably, calling everyone else with an early copy as well – to personally ask that nothing be leaked.   Imagining that a small number of people preordered from BBCA’s shop, and then a much, much smaller number got sent out early, and those people got personal calls – well, it’s possible that they might all keep their traps shut, right?  Or maybe they saw all the abuse this guy is getting for not uploading the episode and it scared them off.

Others have claimed that they’ve heard from various BBCA people – ranging from “contacts” to customer service representatives – that the leak is indeed real.

Con

The thing that gets me, though, is the utter lack of anyone else with a copy of this thing.  It’s possible that everyone who received copies early is onboard with not spoiling anything, sure, whether it’s because they’re stand-up citizens or afraid that the BBC will track them as the source.  Or even narrow it down more – only a small percentage have the knowledge and capability to rip blu-rays even if they wanted to.  But why aren’t there more people like Untempered*Schism and his tumblr – spoiler-free people showing off?  Where are the badly filtered Instagram pictures?

Whatever the truth of the situation is, there’s definitely tons of false information out there.  “Spoilers” abound, ripped from fan fiction, or apparently previously revealed; I imagine there’s more than a fair number of viruses floating around in the seedier parts of the internet as well.   Again, to the best of my knowledge there’s no legitimate content leaked out there; no clue on the spoilers as I tend to close my eyes and apply the brain bleach (and who will know, anyway, until it airs?).

If it is some kind of PR stunt, I’m not certain what the point of it would be; most of the people who care are just irritated that there’s a possibility it could be watched early.  I know I’ve certainly thought about the episode much more this week than I normally would have – but in an itchy rash sort of way.  On the other hand, perhaps all this furor has filtered out into the mainstream, stirring up anticipation for the episode.  It may be as simple as that.

If the early delivery is real, here’s a mini bit of Who History for you: back before the 1983 25th Anniversary Special, “The Five Doctors,” aired, the novelization of the episode accidentally hit some stores up to a few weeks before broadcast.   So perhaps it’s all as simple as a little bit of history repeating.

What about you?  What do you think of this “impossible leak”?  Are you waiting for the finale, or are you hunting down spoilers?

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