TV & Radio
Five scripts from the upcoming season of the iconic British science fiction series Doctor Who have surfaced online.
The breach of security is believed to be unprecedented in the history of the show.
The BBC has confirmed that five scripts which surfaced online over the weekend are the real deal - shooting scripts for five as yet unseen episodes from the upcoming season.
The scripts are significant because they are the first episodes featuring the highly anticipated new Doctor Who, actor Peter Capaldi.
The BBC has issued a statement pleading with fans who have seen the scripts not to spoil the season's key storylines, to preserve the surprises for the show's broader fan base.
Doctor Who set in Cardiff, UK ... Peter Capaldi with Michelle Gomez, who will be guest starring in series eight as the Gatekeeper of the Nethersphere.
"We would like to make a plea to anyone who might have any of this material and spoilers associated with it not to share it with a wider audience so that everyone can enjoy the show as it should be seen when it launches," the statement said.
"We know only too well that Doctor Who fans are the best in the world and we thank them for their help with this and their continued loyalty."
It is understood the episodes were leaked via the Miami office of BBC Worldwide, who were supplied the scripts for translation so the series could be subtitled for the Latin American television markets.
The breach of security is a major source of frustration for the Doctor Who creative team.
One of the show's key writers, Sherlock-scribe Mark Gatiss, took to Twitter to vent, saying: "People spend all their time making nice things and then other people come along and break them ..."
The BBC confirmed an investigation was underway.
The statement said the British national broadcaster's international arm was "currently investigating a security issue ... where unfinished material has inadvertently been made public."
The statement continued: "We deeply regret this and apologise to all the show's fans, the BBC and the cast and crew who have worked tirelessly making the series."
The BBC has unveiled only one major trailer previewing the new series, with a Dalek-style voice-over, fuelling online speculation the series would herald the return of one of the show's iconic villains, the Dalek creator, Davros.
The eighth season of Doctor Who launches globally at the end of August.
- Sydney Morning Herald