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Amazon Streamed Next Doctor Who Episode Several Days Early, And BBC Isn't Happy

The Doctor Jodie Whittaker Doctor Who BBC America

The BBC is a bit miffed at Amazon after a Season 11 episode of Doctor Who aired several days before its intended airing. Customers who purchased and downloaded the Season 11 episode "Kerblam!" were surprised to find the episode they purchased was actually the following yet-to-air episode "The Witchfinders." The BBC released a statement apologizing to any consumers who were upset by the error.

We're aware that an upcoming episode of Doctor Who was made available to Amazon Prime users in the U.S. in error. We are investigating how this happened and have taken the steps to remove it. BBC Studios would like to apologize if anyone's enjoyment of the series has been spoiled by this mishap.

Some viewers who purchased the Doctor Who episode experienced some extra confusion thanks to the episode's closed captioning. io9 reported captions scrolled the dialogue from "Kerblam!" despite the footage on screen being that of "The Witchfinders." The result was a lot of text about robots and the future in an episode that's set squarely in the past and involves villagers searching for witches.

What's weird about Amazon's error is that the mistake resulted in customers missing an episode of Doctor Who that somewhat poked fun at its brand. "Kerblam!" was centered around The Doctor and her friends traveling to an intergalactic shipping facility where they received a distress signal. Upon arrival, they learned that the Kerblam facilities were primarily automated with just 10% of its staff human. Perhaps Amazon's exclusion of this episode wasn't so unintentional?

Whatever the case may be, The BBC wasn't thrilled about Amazon airing "The Witchfinders" several days ahead of when it would premiere the episode to the world. That episode is one Doctor Who fans have been looking forward to for a while due to a guest-star appearance by Alan Cumming. The error was likely noticed by quite a few American cord-cutting fans, as it's the only way to stream the new season of Doctor Who without the BBC America app.

Obviously, Doctor Who fans who weren't able to see "The Witchfinders" before Amazon removed it should be cautious, as some fans are revealing their thoughts and feelings on the episode a bit early. Those who don't wish to be spoiled on the episode may want to withhold from any searching on the series until the premiere rolls around in a couple of days.

Season 11 of Doctor Who airs Sundays on BBC America at 8 p.m. ET and on Amazon and the BBC America app for those that like to stream their television. For a look at other things coming to television in the near future, be sure to visit and bookmark our fall and midseason premiere guides.

Mick Joest

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.