BBC is investigating whether the leak of the final episode of its popular TV series could have been leaked online by Russian hackers on orders from Kremlin.
Titled His Final Problem, the fourth season finale was illegally uploaded to the internet on Saturday.
The leaked version of the 90-minute episode, dubbed in Russian language, was watched by 5.9 million viewers on Sunday night.
BBC claimed that the leak could be retaliation against the broadcaster over its decision to expand its Russian language output, The Sun reported.
Channel One owns the rights to show Sherlock in Russia.
A BBC source quoted by Independent said the leak was “more than an accident”. “BBC Worldwide takes breaches of our stringent content security protocols very seriously and we have initiated a full investigation into how this leak occurred,”the source told Independent.
According to Western media, Kremlin is thought to have been angered by a recent decision to expand the BBC World Service’s Russian language output. Moscow has also threatened to freeze BBC finances in Russia and report Britain to watchdogs after Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) subsidiary NatWest considered closing the account of state-funded Russia Today.
BBC is reportedly working closely with Channel One in Russia to identify how the leak was occurred.