The Bletchley Circle is set in 1951 and follows Susan, Millie, Lucy and Jean, all of whom worked as codebreakers at Bletchley Park during the war and have now returned to civillian life. At Susan s insistence, the four women get back together and use the skills they acquired during the war to crack a murder case which has the police stymied
Post-war England, 1952, a spate of murders is reported in the press. Susan (Anna Maxwell Martin) thinks she may have worked out a pattern to the killings of five girls. Having worked at the secret code-breaking unit at Bletchley during the war, she finds being a housewife (a husband and two children) is not enough to keep her mind active. The police tell her there is no foundation to what amounts to conjecture. Susan calls on three of her former Bletchley colleagues, Millie, Jean and Lucy to form a peace-time operation to identify any common links between the murders with a view to tracing the person carrying them out. Quickly they believe that the recent killings follow a similar method in their execution and locality with a possible railway linkage. The police take note after one of the girls literally puts her life on the line and after listening and taking action, are content they have satisfactorily tied up the case. The Bletchley girls stretch their web and uncover past murders they are convinced have been perpetrated by the man responsible for the recent abductions, but the case is by no means closed to their eyes. They lack hard evidence, leads, clues, anything to pick out and support a common trend in the crimes. Hence they plod on. No spoilers but the action becomes tense with suspense and frightening, sinister moments. The girls carry their wartime bravery and skills into the danger zone.
This is an enjoyable three episode drama portraying convincingly dress,scenery and general atmosphere of the period, especially the steam trains. It is sometimes slow and predictable but it keeps the viewer involved with the chase right to the end. Anna Maxwell Martin is, as usual in her parts, quite outstanding and brief interludes with Simon Williams (Cavendish), who knows more than he is initially prepared to divulge, add weight to the authenticity of the storyline. I enjoyed this short series which was easy on the eye and uncomplicated to follow. What will they do next when the excitement and intellectual stimulation is over?
This series is about interesting, highly trained women who worked un-recognised at Bletchley Code breaking during WW2. After the war they can't use their skills any longer and are constrained by the Official Secrets Act. They return to ordinary life until one day, one of them sees a way they can help solve a series of murders... Very well cast and well crafted... Good storyline and degree of suspense, set in the early fifties?
So much of this series is really excellent - the acting, direction, camerawork, period authenticity are all superb and are very hard to fault. In addition it has pace and style. Wonderful!
The plot is also very engaging except for just one thing - the basic premise is simply rubbish. The pretext for the four girls getting together and working on this is that they were all employed at Bletchley park during the war which gave them an exceptional ability to analyse patterns. So, lo and behold, along comes a case where the protagonist commits his crimes in a way that reveals a pattern, namely a spiral that starts from somewhere near Southampton. I can't answer for the criminal mind but I have to say this seems rather far-fetched to me and smacks of plot contrivance.
Furthermore there is a scene in the final episode where Anna Maxwell-Martin's character gets up during the night and spends a few feverish hours ploughing through her old mathematics textbooks. Page after page of formulae then flash across the screen as if she is working out the solution to the crime through the employment of mathematics. However none of this is explained in any way, we are just meant to believe that this is how she arrives at her conclusion.
Despite the above I really enjoyed this series and urge the commissioning of further series. Just drop the more far-fetched theoretical stuff next time in favour of a premise based simply on four clever and plucky girls solving crimes through their cleverness and pluckiness. It will then be as close to perfect as any TV series ever achieves.
I was attracted to this DVD by the mention of Bletchley Park in the title. In fact it is a high-quality thriller (the task is to catch the culprit before there is yet another murder) set in the now vintage era of 1949 or thereabouts. The four heroines worked together in WW2 cryptology and then separately entered civilian life. They re-unite for a new challenge. The unknown villain has used various layers of deception to confuse the police. Eventually the four women break through the last layer and emerge triumphant. Considerable work by the production team managed to produce an extremely plausible version clothing, buildings, trains and motor vehicles of London at that time.