BBC releases Doctor Who on BitTorrent

BBC adopts a very modern approach to distribute a box set marking 10 years of the modern version of Doctor Who.


The BBC is releasing an official digital box-set of 10 episodes of Doctor Who via BitTorrent.

It will be distributed as a free “bundle” through BitTorrent’s file-sharing network, with an introductory video from current Doctor, Peter Capaldi, and a 10-minute preview of Rose, the first episode from the modern Doctor Who era.

Fans will be able to download or stream both, but will have to pay to unlock the rest of the bundle, including the 10 episodes (or 12 given a couple are two-parters).

The episodes include Rose, The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances, The Girl in the Fireplace, Blink, The End of Time, The Vampires of Venice, The Doctor’s Wife, The Rings of Akhaten, The Day of the Doctor, and Listen.

The paid episodes also include five more video introductions from Capaldi, and 2014 documentary Doctor Who: Earth Challenge which saw Capaldi and co-star Jenna Coleman travel the world meeting Who fans.

The move contradicts critics of BitTorrent who usually view it as only existing to facilitate illegal downloads.

“Our entire mission is to get content out legitimately to as many fans as we can around the world. We’re in a lot of territories, but we’re not everywhere, and not everybody has access to paid-for TV,” Julia Kenyon, director of drama brands at BBC Worldwide, told The Guardian.

“This is a really lovely way to extend it even further so that more of our fans can get our content. We have quite a young audience. They’re very digital-savvy, and a lot of them access content in the digital space, so understanding their habits, and going where they are is very important for us.”

No sonic screwdriver needed.

2 Responses

    1. I imagine the bonus content (if not already previously distributed) will be recompiled by pirates into a separate torrent file for piracy. Any interested pirates will already have pirated copies of the episodes in question.

      But that doesn’t mean this effort by the BBC is worthless. By reaching out to pirates using their preferred distribution system, they may get a few people paying for content.

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