The Bletchley Circle Review

The Bletchley Circle Review
On 6th September 2012 ITV1  launched a crime drama called The Bletchley Circle. It has that stylish vintage look and a fascinating back story for the characters. Susan, Millie, Lucy and Jean worked as codebreakers during World War 2 at the Government Code & Cypher School codebreaking operation at Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire.

On 6th January 2014 The Bletchley Circle Series 2 hit our screens in the UK with the North America airing starting on 13 April 2014. Read below to catch up on my review of both series as the mystery and the girl-power unfolds.

The Bletchley Circle Series 1

The programme starts in 1943, introducing the charaters during World War 2. All too soon, 9 years have passed and the body of the story is set in the early 1950s.  War has ended and the women have assimilated into their peacetime lives but continue to meet. They notice patterns in crimes that the police have missed. The women decide to follow the clues and solve the crime.

The Bletchley Circle is a stylish 3 part drama looks to delivery a popular crime drama while tapping into the nation’s fascination with codebreaking and Bletchley Park.

The genre of The Bletchley Circle made it my ideal show. The Bletchley Circle Review is my take on all aspects of the show as a general viewer and as a Bletchley Park researcher. I watched it it on 2 levels: for pure entertainment and its factual merits on the characters’ past at Bletchley Park. I don’t mean to be a spoilsport, but I can already see a problem…

These are the reviews I posted about The Bletchley Circle. It is great to have received comments and to know how much interest there is in Bletchley Park’s past.

If you missed it on television you can now by The Bletchley Circle [DVD] (yay, no adverts) by clicking on the photograph below.


The Bletchley Circle Series 2

It’s January 2014 and the hugely popular The Bletchley Circle Series 2 returns to our screens the UK on ITV. It will air in the US in April 2014 on PBS.

Read my review of Episode one of this four part series, which is made up of two stories running over two episodes each. There’s more mystery, brain power and a good dose of red lipstick along with the requisite classic vintage styling. Enjoy.

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4 thoughts on “The Bletchley Circle Review

  1. though enjoyable I would have thought the producers would have thought more about accuracy. I believe set in 1952 the bus used in the production (a Routemaster) didn’t exist until 1954 and the RML version used much later than that. As far as I am aware St Pancras station never ran a service via Upton Park and Barking to Southend, this ran from Fenchurch St station, neither did trains fom St Pancras carry Southern region carriages.

    • Dear John,

      Thank you for taking the time to reply. I would never have known about the buses. It just goes to show that any short cuts in research can be easily picked up, and usually are! Is your knowledge from work, a hobby or other?

      I look forward to hearing more about you.

      All the best


  2. Hi. I found the serial killer part of the story the least interesting part. Although the code-breaking skills and the deduction that they used to get to the killer was the plot, what was more engaging was the history of the women – they had been part of the war effort, using their intelligence to great ends, but then they were required to slot back into a chauvanistic world where their intelligence was good for little more than crossword puzzles. I though this aspect of Bletchley Circle deserved more screen time. It was still a good series, though.

    • I agree – it would have been great to have seen more of the Bletchley story. The most memorable line for me was (along the lines of) ‘I’ll buy you a puzzle book – a really hard puzzle book.’ As if that would be consolation for failing to find the murderer! It made me laugh in that there is truth in it. Women found real purpose in the war and a freedom that, for some, vanished during peacetime. Women were expected to return to their traditional roles and that the wartime potential may not have been reached again.

      However, I have spoken to Bletchley Park veterans who happily swapped their wartime work for marriage and a family. They thrived in the traditional domestic role. Like today, some roles suit some but not others. Charlotte Webb, who you will find on this website, found that her work at Bletchley Park and the Pentagon changed her life. She went from studying how to run a household at a domestic science college to a career in the Territorial Army and Women’s Army.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I hope you find more on the website to interest you.

      Warm Regards


      I too enjoyed the back story and the skills the characters used to find the killer. Someone asked me if I knew what came first – the back story idea or the plot. What I mean is, did the writer find a story to fit around the characters or did he create the characters to fit the story? I think I might just try to find out….