Tardis

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#FindTheDoctor was an Alternate Reality Game (ARG, for short) that began releasing content in late 2021 as a promotion for the forthcoming Doctor Who: Flux. The ultimate goal was to determine the password to a hidden page on the official Doctor Who website. Each clue held a single letter that was highlighted in some way, as well as a hint towards finding the next clue.[1]

Clue content was a mixture of online and real-world items, though the real-world items had some online form of record - presumably to aid fans who could not travel to them.

Some highlighted letters were not clues at all, but in those instances, they were given in larger numbers and represented coded messages that would lead to the next clue.

Unusual to the rest of the ARG, the last clue contained 3 letters, rather than 1.

Clues[]

  1. The first clue was hinted at in the Series 13 trailer first revealed at San Diego Comic Con @ Home on 25 July 2021[2] and later released on the Doctor Who YouTube channel on 26 July. The video had a very faintly written "/mystery" at the bottom of the screen, leading to a web page on the Doctor Who website[3], which revealed the first clue as D, in the word hidden in the welcome message, and hinting that it begins: 13:13.13.
  2. On 13 August, posted at precisely 13:13 BST, the next clue was released on the same web page and unlisted on the Doctor Who YouTube Channel as the webcast A Message from Yaz. The video ended with the text "The next clue is coming soon", with the C coloured red. The text accompanying the video on the page also had "C" capitalised.
  3. The third clue came on 16 August with a promotional image from upcoming series, which was posted exactly at the time 13:13 and held a set of graffitied co-ordinates[4] for Yaz's Park Hill flat in Sheffield. The number 5 in the co-ordinates was coloured green, giving it away as the next clue.
  4. The fourth clue was gained by following the co-ordinates of the previous clue, where a Google Maps Park Hill photo from 3 August (uploaded by a user called "John Smith" as part of John Smith's Google Maps reviews) contained a TARDIS that had "FIND ME 14/07" graffitied on it.[5] The E was uniquely coloured red, making it the fourth clue. The photo is dated 13 February 2018, presumably the creation date of the file before being edited and posted, as the file name is "3973 Doctor Who 0102 Ep4_working_1a" and location shooting was recorded on that date for Series 12.
  5. The fifth letter was obtained by finding an Instagram post from 14 July, from the Doctor Who account, which depicted the Doctor holding up a piece of morse code reading "Liverpool Gallery".[6] The letter G was highlighted.
  6. Indeed, at the Liverpool Gallery a painting entitled La Boîte Bleue showed a landscape featuring the TARDIS and an anachronistic rocket and landing module in the 1860s. The letter Y was capitalised, making it the sixth clue.[7]
  7. On 20 August, "John Smith" left a 5-star review for the Science Museum,[8] stating to have forgotten something there. The rocket and lander module in the painting is also found there. An exhibition at the museum was called Unknown object—RHCTDM-OEI-OLOAW/0209 --an anagram of "DOCTOR-WHO-EMAIL and "0209" representing the date "2 September"-- and was a display of the Thirteenth Doctor's sonic screwdriver, with the letter V capitalised in its accompanying text.
  8. Indeed on 2 September, the "Doctor Who Newsletter" send an email which contained a series of capitalised letters, forming the anagram BHIRLRIATIYBRMASRY, which, if rearranged, was BRITISH LIBRARY MARY. Mary Shelley's page on the British Library website had the letter A capitalised in the bolded word "reach".[9]
  9. Shelley's page at the British Library contained the words "reAch", "librarian" and "Doctor" highlighted in bold. Using the "reach.librarian.doctor" word combinations on What3Words lead to the National History Museum coordiates.[10] The Museum had a page titled An almost complete mystery about the item called "EPDUPSXIPNBH-TFQU" —-a caesar cipher of "DOCTORWHOMAG-SEPT"-- which had N capitalised in the text description.[11]
  10. The September 2021 issue of Doctor Who Magazine, namely DWM 569, contained a QR code to a "/message" page on the Doctor Who website that released info on 16 September. The QR code was released alongside the legal information, within which the text #findthedoctor was hidden. The clue was given on "/message" and as unlisted on the Doctor Who YouTube Channel at exactly 13:13 BST as the webcast A Message, with its content in reverse, that revealed the letter V in musical Morse code. The QR code page of the also had the text "Have you found the latest clue?" with V capitalised and so did the YouTube video description.
  11. Using that same video unreversed, and running the music through the music identification app Shazam[12], it would reveal 3 letters in a row; E, T and E, revealed in the music title mystery complete, hence concluding the ARG, ending the hunt. The Shazam page used a snapshot of the QR code video as its avatar. The music featured was created by Igor Dvorkin, Ellie Kidd and Duncan Pittock.[13]

The reward for completing the ARG would be unveiled by typing the found letters into the password box on the /mystery page on the Doctor Who website. The prize was the webcast A Message from the Doctor, which could be found unlisted on YouTube, and an official promotional image of the Thirteenth Doctor.

Entries[]

# Title Cast & crew Format Release date Clue Notes
1 /mystery None Web page 26 July 2021 D A mystery unfolds.
2 A Message from Yaz Yasmin Khan 34 seconds webcast 13 August 2021 C Yaz sends a voice message to the Doctor.
3 Promotional image Team TARDIS (photo) Image 16 August 2021 5 Co-ordinates are found on a promo picture.
4 John Smith's Google Maps reviews "John Smith" 3 August 2021 E A graffitied TARDIS is found at Park Hill on Google Maps.
5 What’s the Doctor reading Thirteenth Doctor (photo) 14 July 2021 G The Thirteenth Doctor holds up a Morse code transcript.
6 La Boîte Bleue Unknown artist Painting August 2021 Y A landscape featuring the Doctor's TARDIS is mysteriously donated to a museum in Liverpool.
7 Unknown object—RHCTDM-OEI-OLOAW/0209 "John Smith" Display 13 August 2021 V The Thirteenth Doctor's sonic screwdriver is on display at the Science Museum.
8 Mary Shelley Uncredited Web page 2 September 2021 A Mary Shelley at the British Library.
9 An almost complete mystery Uncredited Web page N The undisplayed Thirteenth Doctor's earring at the Natural History Museum.
10 A Message/mystery complete Team TARDIS 32 second webcast 16 September 2021 V Team TARDIS sends a message asking for clues in a mystery.
11 Igor Dvorkin, Ellie Kidd, Duncan Pittock ETE The mysterious music holds the answer.

Prize[]

# Title Cast & crew Format Release date Notes
N/A A Message from the Doctor & Exclusive Promo Thirteenth Doctor 35 second webcast & promo image 15 September 2021 The Doctor replies back to Yaz with a voice message.

As a follow-up, the BBC released a statement video from Jodie Whittaker on 24 September 2021 thanking all the fans for getting involved in the adventure, #FindTheDoctor. She further revealed that there would be much more Series 13 news in the coming days up to the actual broadcast of it.[14]

Entry gallery[]

Gallery[]

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Notes[]

On mobile devices, the "/mystery"-page was also found to contain a hidden instance of the word "FRED", which was almost the nickname the Fourth Doctor gave Romanadvoratrelundar. Curiously, the "Inspect Element" password for the page is "X4G6H66TZ114Z33H19K6", which holds the exact amount of letters as the Time Lord’s full name.[15] These were originally thought to have part in the final password, but were eventually disregarded, with the former just being random and the latter just being a a placeholder for the final password, which was found when putting the list of clues together and was much shorter.

User "John Smith" who left the picture on Google Maps also has 5-star reviews for all the following buildings published on 16 August 2021, referencing events of the series (the profile indicates that 4 more reviews were posted, but as they do not show up, they are presumably deleted). In chronological order, they are:

Shazam was asked to have the music used in A Message titled "mystery complETE" and use the logo from the Series 13 trailer, but it is actually "Scorched Ground 6" released in 2015 and has a YouTube link to "Lost Prophecies" by the same artist, released on Youtube on 17 June 2012, which was used as the music for The Enemy of the World trailer released on 10 October 2013.

Even though the quest was originally meant to be completed on 16 September 2021, the last clue containing the letters ETE wasn’t discovered until much later than intended, but still the final password was accidentally completed by fans who, by chance, looked in the public source code for the web page "/mystery" which had changed the regex "X4G6H66TZ114Z33H19K6" into "DC5EGYVANVETE", revealing the password.[16]

External links[]

Footnotes[]

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