Do you like a good murder mystery? Interested in code breaking? How about sociological changes and the critical role of women in WW2? The Bletchley Circle is just the ticket.
Produced in England last year by ITV, The three-episode Bletchley Circle takes place in England in 1952. It revolves around four women who worked together at Bletchley Park during the war and have moved on to civilian life. When Susan reads that a serial killer is killing young women in London, she suspects a method to the killer’s madness. She enlists the help of her three ex-Bletchley Park friends, and the four women put their heads together to discover the killer’s identity.
I watched only Episode 1, on my local PBS station. It was terrific. The sets and clothing evoked a sepia-toned early-fifties England that was still struggling with ration books. It lent an insight into the lives of women who’d helped win the war, but whose technology careers were cut short by peacetime. Eighty percent of the 12,000 people who’d worked at Bletchley Park were women. When the war ended, everyone at Bletchley Park was sworn by the Official Secrets Act to never tell anyone about their wartime activities at Bletchley Park. (I’ve heard that one couple were married for thirty years before they discovered that they’d both worked at Bletchley Park!)
I’m looking forward to watching episodes 2 and 3, and I read that a second series is being produced as well.
Not until F. W. Winterbotham’s book The Ultra Secret was published in 1974 did ex-Bletchley Park staff feel free to reveal something of their wartime work. Deaths before that time meant that many parents, spouses, and children were never told more than that it was secret work for the Foreign Office or one of the armed services. Even 70 years later, some people still regard themselves bound to remain silent.
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© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695