The Bletchley Circle

Thursday, 6 September 2012, 9:00PM – 10:00PM

Four ordinary women with an extraordinary flair for code-breaking and razor-sharp intelligence skills are the focus of ITV’s new murder mystery drama, The Bletchley Circle.

Twice BAFTA award-winner, Anna Maxwell Martin (South Riding, Bleak House) stars as Susan, Rachael Stirling (Women in Love, Boy Meets Girl) is Millie, RADA graduate Sophie Rundle (Episodes, Garrow’s Law) plays Lucy and Julie Graham (Lapland, Survivors, William & Mary) is Jean.

1943 – Bletchley Park

Inside one of the machine huts Susan (Anna Maxwell Martin) is analysing reams of decrypted German data when suddenly something catches her eye. For anyone else, it would be lost in the confusion, but Susan’s specialty is patterns, and she thinks she’s seen one here. Checking the details with Millie (Rachael Stirling) and Lucy (Sophie Rundle) they confirm her initial thoughts; she believes she has spotted a code for German battle orders within the cipher. Jean (Julie Graham) instructs Susan to take it straight to the top, to the Colonel, and the women wait anxiously for Susan to return. Some hours later Susan re-joins the group and tells them that their theory was correct – the British troops now know where the next German battle is going to take place.

May 1952 – London

Nine years later and Susan is now a housewife, married to Timothy (Mark Dexter) and mother to their two children. Her code-breaking days at Bletchley Park are a distant memory. But when Susan thinks she has spotted a pattern in a string of murders happening in London, it’s clear that her mind is still as sharp as ever. Susan approaches Timothy about taking her theory to the police. Timothy is shocked that his wife is concerning herself with such awful business but eventually agrees to help her meet with the Deputy Commissioner of Scotland Yard, Wainwright (Michael Gould), who he served with in the war.

Susan meets with Wainwright and explains her pattern to him. She explains that although four girls have been found, she believes there is another missing girl whose body has not yet been discovered. Although at first cynical, Wainwright soon becomes intrigued by Susan’s noticeable intellect and realises that she must have done more than just clerical work in the war. Wainwright instructs his men to search the area that Susan has pinpointed. But the police return empty handed, no missing girl is found, and Susan is forced to return home.

Feeling upset and defeated, Susan takes down all of the newspaper cuttings and information she had collected in secret on the murders, and burns them. When she comes across a picture of Millie, Lucy and herself, taken at Bletchley Park, she stops. The words ‘Never be ordinary’ are written on the back and this strikes a chord with Susan. She decides to contact her old friends from Bletchley and bring together their skills to catch the serial killer before he strikes again.

Susan and the women meet under the guise of a ‘Philosophy and Literature club’ and Susan explains why she has brought them all together. Initially Lucy and Jean are reluctant to get involved, it’s incredibly dangerous and something the police are dealing with. The women leave Susan’s house with no plans to carry on Susan’s investigation into the murders or even meet up again. But just as Susan predicted, another girl, Mary Lawrence, goes missing, and the women all realise they cannot stand by and do nothing. Susan, Millie, Jean and Lucy set about finding Mary Lawrence before its too late.

Treating the crimes like a code to be cracked, the women gather all the information and evidence they can find. They obtain the full mortuary reports of the murdered girls and discover that they weren’t just murdered; they were murdered and then raped. Then through a sequence of clever deductions relating to the location of the bodies, the dates and times they were found and the journeys they were making on the day they died, the women realise that the killer is using the rail network to find his victims.

By following the pattern the killer has been making and by cross-correlating their train data, the women work out where the missing girl, Mary Lawrence, must have been taken. Will they reach her in time to save her before the killer claims his fifth victim?

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