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A group of women who worked at Bletchley during the war return to their
undervalued prewar existences until one of them happens upon a line of
enquiry regarding a spate of murders of young women. She finds old
colleagues from the Bletchley years and they form the eponymous circle
to crack the code of the killings. Not believed and told to back down
by all men in their lives and the authorities they fight alone to
attempt to solve some pretty gruesome murders.
The writing is excellent and the portrayals by. Each of the four women leads is rounded, true and touching in their different ways. The only thing I would change is the over egged references to the murder being solved as a code: it was as if the writers felt it was a bit of a stretch and so had to 'explain' it all the time and thus made this one aspect a little clumsy and difficult to sustain suspension of disbelief.
A good look at the roles and struggles of women of the period but based on the murder mystery pace and style it is not preachy but accessible and exciting.
There have been plenty of hinted at back story lines and there is lots of room for growth and new story lines in a second series - she says with fingers crossed and a begging nod to The makers/funders
This was a sparkling, well thought out, murder mystery. It dealt with the part of World War II that we seldom get to see on the screen. These four women had developed their minds to nearly super-human levels, only to let them rust in the decades following the war. This drama is set in that curious after-time. It's a time when hands that had once killed and maimed had to be placed in a domestic setting. Both the protagonists and villain were all products of that curious time. They captured the sense of mid- 50's London exquisitely. The piece was well cast, well filmed and well acted. I hope that we get to see more of the amazing women of Beltchley!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This three part murder mystery begins during the Second World War when
we are introduced to our protagonists; Susan, Millie, Jean and Lucy;
four women who work at Bletchley Park analysing intelligence data to
try to figure out the German's plans. The action then jumps forward a
few years to the early fifties when Susan thinks she has spotted a
pattern in a series of murders that have recently been reported. She
informs the police of her theory but when they check up on it they find
nothing. Rather than giving up she turns to her wartime friends hoping
they will see the mistake she made. Their analysis of the evidence
leads them to the body of another victim and soon they have an idea
about how the killer is finding his victims. As they form theories some
are proved wrong others initially lead the wrong way but eventually
they learn who the killer is; the problem is by then he is aware that
they are after him!
This is a solid mystery with a plethora of false leads, suspects who turn out to be innocent and as is often the case a police force who isn't convinced by the evidence presented by the protagonists. The four main characters are interesting and varied despite their similar wartime background. Anna Maxwell Martin does a great job as chief protagonist Susan and is ably supported by Rachael Stirling, Julie Graham and Sophie Rundle as Millie, Jean and Lucy respectively. The series doesn't concentrate on the mystery to the exclusion of all else; we see enough of their family lives to see how attitudes towards women were different back then; there are also subtle reminders to the period such as a newspaper sign mentioning rationing. Viewers hoping to solve the crime before our amateur sleuths may be a little disappointed that we don't see the killer for some time and when we do attention is drawn to him in a way that makes it fairly obvious that he is the killer I don't think that spoils the story though; there is still plenty of tension as the story approaches its conclusion. On the strength of this story I'd be pleased if more instalments were commissioned so the four women can investigate further cases.
"The Bletchley Circle" from 2012 is about women who worked on cracking
German military codes during the World War II. They are described as
"Alan's girls," meaning Alan Turing, whose tragic life will be the
subject of a film starring Benedict Cumberbatch later this year. After
the war, though they were all very smart, they settled in everyday life
that sometimes was less than satisfying.
When young women start disappearing and wind up dead in 1952, one of the code-breakers, Susan (Anna Maxwell Martin) becomes interested in the case, sees a pattern emerging, and asks her husband to use a connection to get her in to see the Deputy Commissioner. Unfortunately, her idea -- the location of the currently missing girl's body -- is incorrect.
Discouraged, Susan is sure that she and her old code-breaker friends can find the killer using their code-breaking skills. She gets the old group together: Jean (Julie Graham), Millie (Rachel Stirling), and Lucy (Sophie Rundle) who are resistant at first, then agree. It means using information supplied by other code-breakers. It also means putting themselves in danger.
I thought this was a suspenseful, intriguing, and interesting story, with the '50s atmosphere, clothing, and hairstyles intact, with strong acting from the actresses. Because it's a feminist story, meant to show that post-World War II, England didn't need its women any longer, the men in it are annoyed, angry, suspicious, and in one case, violent. I would say the Deputy Commissioner, despite finding Susan a bit of a nuisance, does follow up on what she says, knowing the job she had during the war and her intelligence; and Susan's husband, though not particularly happy, knows she's a good woman and in the end, has patience with her long hours away from the house.
My only question is, where is season 2? Can't wait.
Great period drama....quite extraordinary how these women went from code breakers in WWII saving thousands of lives to the hum-drum of home life after the war. I can only imagine how difficult the transition must have been. Anna Maxwell Martin, who plays Susan, does such a great job. I had no idea how fantastic she was--very believable and her passion is deeply portrayed here. This show is enigmatic---quite refreshing. Great actors and very interesting..I couldn't stop watching--I found this by accident and was truly impressed with the production quality. If you like this...watch "Call the Midwives"--another great British show.
Can't wait for second series, stayed up to was all 3episodes last
night! A lot of complexity between the 2nd class status of women in
that period and their ability to rise above with their ability and
intelligence. And yet still women were not considered able or
Loved the capture of the clothes and fashion from that period it is like stepping back in time! Sure glad I don't have to though, those men would make want to bop them on the head!
The characters are a lovely blend of the range of developing females during that time where they are confident and assured and yet still intimidated and daunted by the role men had them pigeon holed in.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I am trying to make a habit of not doing reviews for productions that I found weak, as the end product just seems to annoy fans, and often on the IMDb, fans are much more vocal than the window-shoppers and tire kickers. But I will make an exception here. The first episode hooked me like a flounder. It was brilliant and it was original and it was flawlessly executed. The idea that, during WW2, a group of ordinary women (some of whom may or may not have special abilities -- that's a wee spoiler) could be so instrumental, so pivotal, in the war effort, and yet so ignored afterwards. Wonderful notion. Followed by the idea that at least one member of this former squad, in the modern era, would eschew her life as an ordinary housewife to help the police catch a ripper -- and, in the process, re-unite her former team...? Brilliant. So brilliant that, as they say in America, the show was theirs to lose. Because only internal sabotage, only dropping the proverbial ball, would derail such a strong opening. And by George that's just what the writers did. Somewhere mid-story, the writers went barking mad. It is almost as though Guy Burt and his team didn't realize the bird they already had in hand, and went for the two in the bush. Suddenly the viewer is watching a UK version of Charlie's Angels. Suddenly the ladies are in the field actually playing cat and mouse with a serial killer. And suddenly this reviewer lost that key "connection" with the series, suddenly the action seemed forced, and the magic was plain flat gone.
Atmospheric, detailed and fairly gripping drama. I should add that I've
only seen the first season so far. I enjoy the look of the show, the
historical settings, and the impressive production values.
The leads also impress with their acting chops and the 1950s milieu is richly evoked for the most part, with only occasional anachronisms.
Meanwhile: Horrible, awful males everywhere--each one worse than the one before--and our four modest superwomen must contend with them! I won't belabour the plot details (ably done by others here) but part of the 'perfect pitch' is the "Grrl-power" theme which is masterfully suited to our times and very much on-target when it comes to the pursuit of ratings. Well done!
I adore shows with woman as main characters, they are so rare, and this one is thoroughly involving, before you know it-it is over, you are so completely wrapped up in the story, acting; this thriller that you cant believe you drank it all in so sweetly. Each of the woman has her own life story, each of them come with their own brilliant gift, and all care without being sentimental. They are so "you and me" that you feel you could go out to tea with them if you saw them in your life. They are focused, dedicated to the mission and like the marines-leave no woman behind. The more seasons pass-the more developed the characters and possibilities are. Just when I am excited to have found a new friend- ITV makes a gender biased call-women aren't a powerful enough audience-so why bother? 9/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Many things come together to make a show good, and more are needed to
make it great. But to elevate a show to near-perfection requires far
more than just great scripts, direction, settings, and acting, all of
which TBC possesses in abundance. It needs attention to the smallest
details, some of which are painfully, and obviously absent from many
shows across the Atlantic.
Obvious details like selecting actors who actually look like offspring of a parent are often ignored in many US shows. The period sets look realistic enough to make me nostalgic for the land of my birth. Careful watching of shows like Mad Men, sees props that have had a hard life when they're supposed to be new, harming the overall effect of an historical setting.
On the topic of Mad Men, the gentleness of the sexism in TBC is a welcome subtlety, unlike the former show, where it is not just blatant, but at times brutal.
Also absent (thankfully) is the mix of races that - along with sexual orientation - is increasingly common (if not mandatory) in many US shows. So too is the boyfriend/lover that provides little or no value to a script. There are four central characters, each with their own lives, and in some cases, husbands, but the males are of only superficial value to the scripts and have accordingly minor roles, only providing opportunities for the leads to develop their roles.
The actors also bring to life the characters with superb conviction and credibility; the pace is just right, and so too is the idea of them taking a bus to get to a location. Not many had cars, early post-war.
When expressed, emotions are conveyed with realism, and in sufficient quantity to move the viewer. At no stage have I felt like I was watching actors, it was more like being given a glimpse into the lives of real people. Again, this is something only the best of teams can achieve.
This is a wonderful show and might well be a treatise on how to create entertainment that is endearing and bound to be enduring. Writers, directors, producers, and actors should all take note.
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