Spoilers Sweetie: The Leaked Episode

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Guest contributor Lewis Hurst on what the recent finale leak means for the fans and show.

Sunday the 12th March 2013. Big trouble rocks the Doctor Who fandom. The Series Seven Part 2 Box Set is shipped early to thousands of un-expecting US Doctor Who fans and of course, their top priority is to watch the Series Seven finale; The Name of the Doctor a whole week before it officially airs. Now most of these fans will be content to watch the episode and keep quiet about the many events that occur. Some of these fans however will immediately jump to message boards, forums and fan sites to post that one thing many Doctor Who fans hate: Spoilers.

Spoilers are a fickle thing. We’re perfectly happy to devour filming photos, teasers and cast lists to theorise what’s going to happen and to just plain get excited but having the big twists, no scratch that the entire episode spoiled is something that I, personally, cannot abide. Hinting at something is one thing, revealing it is another. This week is going to be a hard one for us Doctor Who fans and all of us are going to at some point battle with ourselves over one thing; do we devour the spoilers lurking on the internet? Or do we attempt to wait until Saturday? Of course, a leak of this magnitude is going to lead to spoilers appearing nearly everywhere: Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, 4Chan, Tumblr, not to mention all the various Doctor Who fan sites and forums. Precautions will have to be taken by all wishing to avoid spoilers; I personally recommend unsubscribing, un-following or whatever from Doctor Who related sites at until after the episode airs, just to be sure. While this will not guarantee that spoilers will be avoided, your chances will be higher.

Now some of you may be thinking, “What’s all the fuss about? It’s only leaked a week early!” But please, try and considerate it like waiting in line to see The Empire Strikes Back on its day of release only for someone to walk out and shout “Darth Vader is Luke’s dad!!!” You’d be pretty annoyed wouldn’t you? Well this is kind of the same thing. We’re that close to the answers, the finish line is in sight and now someone has beat us to it and has rung your mobile telling you exactly what happens after you cross the finish line (okay, not the best metaphor but you get my meaning).

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But what does this mean for the show? It probably won’t affect the ratings, which will probably be the highest of the series due to of course the episode’s name and the mysteries it deals with as well as a great guest cast. But instead it may cause trouble behind the scenes. Security and secret keeping has been amazing all the way through the series so for this to happen now is probably more shocking to those trying to keep the episode secret than us. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if an inquiry was already underway so BBC can determine exactly how this happened. Is it BBC’s fault? Should they have specified more that the discs were not to be shipped until Friday the 17th at the earliest? Is it BBC Shop’s fault for not paying attention to instructions? Regardless, let’s spare a thought to poor Steven Moffat. Moffat has been building to this episode throughout his entire run, all the way back in The Eleventh Hour and was even hinting at his big ideas in The Girl in the Fireplace a whole two years before it was announced he would be taking over. This is Moffat’s equivalent of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, a finale to end all finales. For it to go out before he intended it to is probably deeply upsetting for him and I wouldn’t be surprised if Moffat was more than a bit annoyed at those who were responsible; we already know he doesn’t like things being leaked before they’re supposed to.

Now perhaps the biggest question is how we as fans should react. I’m going to offer two words, two words that should help us all: DON’T PANIC. Chances are, you’ll probably avoid spoilers if you’re already being careful and many Doctor Who fan sites are already taking precautions to ensure the episode goes unspoiled, DWTV has even removed the commenting feature until Saturday in order to stop someone who’d think it would be ‘funny’ to post spoilers here. Now to those of you in America who have seen the episode, I implore you, keep it to yourself. Sure, you can tell us in the UK if the episode is good but please don’t spoil. I have been in this boat before. Several years ago I pre-ordered Primeval Series three on DVD and a similar thing happened, I got the DVD a week before the last episode aired. Did I go around posting spoilers? No. I simply told a few friends that the episode was good and offered to let them come round to my house to watch it if they were desperate. I didn’t illegally make it available for others and nor should anyone who has the Doctor Who Blu-Ray.

Also there’s that special video with Matt and David that Moffat has promised us if the episode goes unspoiled. Now we should all calm down, take precautions if you don’t want spoilers and patiently wait until Saturday. If your need to watch Doctor Who gets too much, then watch an old episode, maybe one you haven’t seen in ages or maybe track down a classic serial you’ve never seen before. This isn’t as bad as it seems and with the right precautions and most importantly staying calm we can all enjoy The Name of the Doctor when it goes out on Saturday. Unless Moffat pulls some sort of cheap trick and reveals Clara to be Lara Croft and The Doctor’s name to be Spock then we can start panicking!

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