The Bletchley Circle

Thursday, 13 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.


Susan (Anna Maxwell Martin) attends Mary Lawrence’s funeral. She returns to the women in the back room of Jean’s (Julie Graham) library that has now been transformed into a full-scale investigation room. The women now believe that the killer is either a guard or a ticket inspector who has worked on the stopping service from St Pancreas to Barking.

The women manage to narrow their list of suspects down to just three men but without doing a vector analysis (a very lengthy process used at Bletchley) they won’t be able to reduce the possibilities any further. With the police appealing for help from the public and only a few days until the killer is due to strike again, the women decide that Susan should take their information to Scotland Yard so that the police can investigate the three men and find out which one is the killer.

At Scotland Yard, Chief Constable Wainwright (Michael Gould) is called into another meeting and Susan must discuss her theory behind their three suspects with D.C.I. Compton (Simon Sherlock). Unfortunately, D.C.I. Compton is really only interested in hard evidence and dismisses her information as just ideas. Susan gives the names of the three men – Tommy Casterwell, Anthony Cross and Gerald Wiggins to D.C.I. Compton but she knows that he hasn’t taken her seriously.

With the police not listening to Susan and her friends, they realise it is now up to them to stop the killer before he takes his next victim – which according to the timetable he has been working to, will be in 3 days time. They decide to do a vector analysis on the data they have for the murders and this uncovers a very significant detail. Every aspect to do with the first murder is exactly the same as the last, there is no variation at all – it’s as if when the first girl was murdered, the killer already knew what he was doing. The women think that perhaps the murderer has killed before, perhaps in other parts of the country. Jean and Lucy head to Colindale Records Archive to see if they can uncover articles from the past about similar murders outside of London. Meanwhile Susan and Millie decide to do their own investigation by talking to the wives and neighbours of their suspects under the guise of selling house insurance. The information they gain from Mrs. Casterwell (Sarah Finigan) and Mrs. Cross (Joanna Brookes) is enough for them to rule out those two men as suspects, however, when they talk to Mr. Wiggins’s neighbour, they realise that Gerald Wiggins may indeed be the killer.

All the women meet back in the library and Jean and Lucy relay their discovery. They found seven other cases of murdered girls in other parts of the country, which are exactly the same as the murders in London. The murderer has killed before but he has also set up other men to take the blame, because other men have either been hanged or committed for life for the crimes.

Jean recognises that many of the skills that the killer is demonstrating are reminiscent of those used in a special department in the war called Electra House, which dealt with forgery and deception. She tries to track down the name of the head of the specialised department through an old colleague Angela Barker (Anastasia Hille), but she denies all knowledge.

Susan goes to see Chief Constable Wainwright to tell him about the other murders but before she has a chance to explain, Wainwright informs her that the police did follow up on the names she gave D.C.I. Compton and they have arrested Gerald Wiggins. The police found enough evidence to connect him with all three of the murdered girls but they are not making the arrest public until they have a full confession. Susan is distraught, this is what she feared would happen, and she was too late.

With the police no longer looking for the murderer and also withholding information about the arrest of Wiggins, the women realise they have no option but to try and lure the killer out themselves. They know the exact train line and time of train where he is due to strike, and they know what kind of women he is looking for, so at Lucy’s behest she puts herself forward to be the bait. The women help to dress Lucy in alluring clothing and as a final touch, Millie dabs a drop of perfume onto Lucy’s wrist. The women freeze, they all recognise that smell – the perfume from the cellar where they found Mary Lawrence. Millie had acquired a bottle of the perfume from her connection on the black market thinking it would add to the effect – and then it dawns on the women how the killer is getting the women off the train. He lures them off with the promise of hard to obtain items that can be bought on the black market.

Looking the part, but scared as hell, Lucy gets on the 6.15 train from St Pancras to Barking and Susan watches her from a short distance in another carriage. But the operation goes horribly wrong, and Lucy is assaulted not by the killer but by an ordinary clerk looking for a good time. When Lucy returns home, her husband Harry (Ed Birch) notices the bruises on her thigh and assumes that she has been adulterous and punishes her by severely beating her.

The women are truly shaken up by the incident on the train and the decision whether or not to carry on is not taken lightly. Jean goes back to see Angela and blackmails her into giving her the name of the head of Electra House. Jean gives Susan the information and she goes to see the retired spook, Mr. Cavendish (Simon Williams), who thinks he knows who the killer could be – a man named Malcolm Crowley who worked in his department, but who apparently died in a fire after the war. Cavendish admits that he always chose not to question Crowley’s death, but now that his suspicions have been confirmed he hands over all the paperwork he has on this man, which isn’t much.

When Susan arrives home Timothy (Mark Dexter) tells her that Millie phoned – Lucy’s been in an accident. Susan rushes over to Millie’s flat where the women are looking after Lucy. As they sit with Lucy they listen to the wireless and hear the report of Wiggins’s arrest. Later that evening and Susan is restless – Millie suggests that she should go and to talk to the psychiatrist Dr Tremaine at the Meredith Hospital who assessed Crowley during the war. Susan heads to the Meredith Hospital; completely unaware of the danger that awaits her…

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