Saturday, 11 January 2014

The Bletchley Circle - ITV review

The Bletchley Circle, created and written by Guy Burt, earned acclaim on its first appearance in the schedules. I missed the whole of the first series, but have just caught up with episode one of series two. Was the praise justified? On the evidence so far, I think it was. This was a good period crime show, perhaps not of the highest calibre, but certainly very watchable.

The premise is a pleasing one. A group of women who were codebreakers at Bletchley Park during the war find themselves yearning for excitement in the austere monochrome Fifties. This story had its roots in a relationship that had flourished at Bletchley. A female codebreaker fell for a male colleague (played by Paul McGann). Years later, he is found murdered, and she is at the scene and the prime suspect. She refuses to defend herself and is tried for the crime and convicted. Even facing the death penalty, she remains silent.

Yet one of her former colleagues struggles to believe in her guilt and enlists the other women in a detective exercise that has the added factor of a race against time. Another suspect, a young girl, emerges, and by the end of this episode it seemed that a conspiracy is in play.

It was a clever idea to build on the legendary activities at Bletchley in this way, and to focus a storyline on a group of talented and determined women (with Anna Maxwell Martin, fresh from Death Comes to Pemberley,,prominent) rather than men. The Fifties setting also seems to me to be well done. Burt is a good story-teller (I gather he published his first novel at the age of 19 - wow!) and this is solid entertainment.

No comments: