The Bletchley Circle (TV Series 2012–2014) Poster


User Reviews

Review this title
32 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Stunning post war feminist thriller
ceri-edwards221 September 2012
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
114 out of 122 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Cracking good mystery!
gort-86 May 2013
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!
67 out of 71 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Excellent show
lynne-h-jordan5 March 2014
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 "Call the Midwives"--another great British show.
36 out of 37 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
a thriller set in post-war England
blanche-218 January 2014
"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.
33 out of 35 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A solid new murder mystery
Tweekums21 September 2012
Warning: 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.
45 out of 50 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Smoother than a vanilla milkshake....
tmdrm422 May 2014
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
17 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Fresh new show!
billie_marshall18 February 2014
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 intelligent!

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.
22 out of 25 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A really enjoyable series.
colinjames85024 August 2018
Great acting, great sets. Intriguing story lines, a nice move away from the usual murder stories. Gripping series.
6 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Truly recommendable!
hz29615 September 2019
I like everything about this short series: the cast, the characters, the sets, the plots... everything.

Anyone who loves a good murder mystery will enjoy this series and the fabulous women with "detective skills". LOL (Set in WW2 and post-war England)

I'd recommend this series any time, that's why I gave it many stars.
5 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Brilliant post-war thriller
robertemerald9 June 2019
The British really do period drama well. Often they choose strangely identifiable characters, which are played by highly competent actors. This show was much better than I expected. I really wondered how they were going to tie in code-breakers to a post-war world, and assumed it would be something to do with Russia. What a pleasant surprise to find these extraordinary women on the hunt for a serial killer. The science behind their quest was also extraordinary, and believe me, never suffers from the antiquated or mundane in terms of mind boggling genius in terms of their analytics. It's all very original indeed. The background is authentic 1950s and worth a look just for that. The social commentary was brilliant, though some may find it a little too extracurricular to the suspense of the main plot. The villain is good and evil, and I would have liked to have seen more of that, which is where my extra point disappeared. It would have given the story an extra kick to the suspense, which it needed, because a lot of the suspense was how husbands and other chaps would react to such aggressive role-breaking. It's a tiny criticism. This is truly a wonderful show. If you love excellent period piece BBC crime drama, then you are in for a treat when you discover The Bletchley Circle.
5 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Outstanding and somehow realistic crime show
nuurhasan23 November 2018
This show is great. The acting, the setting, the dialogues, the realistic problems women faced and still do face - everything is so brilliant. I am growing more and more interested in British crime shows and have completely forsaken American TV.

If you like a typical American style crime shows like How To Get Away With Murder with lots of pretty people having affairs and crying over and over for being 'misunderstood' on God's green earth, then The Bletchley Circle is not for you.

It is a gripping and unbelievably realistic and down to earth show. The pace is good, the character development is excellent, the show is not needlessly critical of our history, it only criticizes the chauvinism when it is necessary, which makes it all the more realistic and haunting. There is no overcompensation of homosexuality either, like I said earlier, there is no overdose of sex of any kind.

It is a plain, brilliant crime show, nothing else.
5 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Exceptional in every way
mpless25 May 2015
Warning: 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.
8 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Please Sir, Can I Have Some More?!
tinajindi29 September 2019
Can we please see more seasons for the Bletchley Circle? I know they did a follow up in San Fransisco but love the original series- amazing cast of characters ! So many more stories to be told in the UK!! Please for the love of everything that is holy bring it back !!!
6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Perfect Pitch
conono10 April 2014
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!
16 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Astonishing premise, launch .... then a nosedive into CrazyTown
A_Different_Drummer2 February 2014
Warning: 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.
23 out of 37 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
pgooden14 August 2018
Gripping series- female characters are diverse in personalities and their non judgemental interactions are refreshing to see . I do have a problem with the accents and can only get about 25 % of what is said , as they do have heavy accents . I realize this is a British production, I just wish I cold understand more. I gave this a 9 only because I miss so much of the dialogue.
6 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A girly version of sherlock Holmes
WatchedAllMovies2 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This is an old school detective movies where crime investigations are based on deductions, clues, etc. There's no DNA, fingerprints, or other modern methods.

The main characters are four British women that used to be code breakers. They decided to investigate a serial murderer because they found the murderer left behind patterns that they can decode, just like breaking codes during the war.

It was an OK movie. Part of the story is over the top. Like when one woman pull out a math book to help figure out the killer's pattern, I thought that was kind of ridiculous. Fortunately she did not pull out a calculus book or used differential equations.

I was able to predict one murder in the movie just by thinking, if she goes to this person for help, wouldn't the serial killer also have guessed it? It is disappointing these supposedly smart women never thought about the possibility.

What is worse, the main character seems to enjoy putting herself in harm's way without thinking. Most people know when you are getting close to catching the killer, the killer may not sit still and may strike back. This thought never occurred to the main character.

It is also stupid these women set a trap to lure the killer and then lost track of the bait.

It is obvious the movie was written by not so intelligent writers. Overall it's a movie with an interesting beginning and a lame ending.
15 out of 40 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Poorly researched (Series 2, Eps 1&2)
Kiaran-ryan115 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Although much of the visual period detail is authentic, the background has been very poorly researched and the viewer is treated as a simpleton.

Specifically: it is implied that a 17-year-old would be liable to be hanged-in 1953??!!!! Also, there is reference to trial of a civilian by a secret military court. Civilians would only have been tried by military court had martial law been declared. What I presume the writer meant was trial in camera: a very different procedure, the verdict of which would have been public. There are other similar flaws.

Also, the protagonists often reach conclusions without it being clear to the viewer how they have done so, and there are gaps in the logic of the plot.

Another sorry example of how mainstream British drama has been dumbed down.
12 out of 31 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Looks good on paper, but disappointed after watching
rlaine27 November 2013
(Reviewing Season 1)

I like British detective stories, I'm interested in problem solving, code breaking, crypts and logic reasoning. I'm interested in ww2 and post-ww2. Still wasn't too excited about this.

Why not then? There is very little of the actual code breaking, reasoning etc. They kind of jump to conclusions when it comes to viewer. They talk about code breaking, but there's never a real moment you'd feel like you/they actually figured out something relevant. It felt kind of dumbed down. The story in general is quite interesting, but the script around it is quite yawning.

The cast.. well the leading lady in my opinion wasn't very likable. She was OK, but the same thing with Gillian Anderson in the recent "The Fall", as a character I felt she was quite uninteresting. The youngest of the circle had a more solid background written in the script, but I'm not sure if I could even distinguish the two remaining women from each other, they were bystanders at best.

And even tho one of the ladies had a more solid background written in the script, I'm not sure if it was relevant really. It was kind of a sub plot without a proper conclusion. Maybe flesh for the second season.

So. Not crap, but nothing special either.
18 out of 54 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Ok the settings and the acting
manugw7 June 2019
Gifted women who worked for British Intelligence during WWII cracking encryptions and codes later took to use their experience to catch criminals Excelent time reenactment of the 40-50 decades. Good acting and original plot. The stories get solved a little bit fast though, needs more intrigue and the adding of cunning twist and turns to excel as a crime series
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Well crafted period piece
MonsieurMS7 July 2018
Yawn, a period piece and a serial killer. Yet, this enchanting miniseries takes that simple concept, freshens it up and makes it all special. The acting is great, the pacing and the writing are excellent, and the plot (where these things most often fail) works, too. There is also a touch of social commentary, which is well taken and happily more obvious from circumstances than preachy speeches. This clever program is one of the best things of its type that I have seen in a long, long while. Don't miss it.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
What could have been a interesting theme
sachinrpathare14 December 2018
Childish dialogues..... Very poor n average acting stops you to get on with it... The subject could have been cooked into a good recipe if it would have been handled by better hands... Waste of a good idea
5 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Irritating Femscist fantasy
RichardvonLust16 May 2019
If you enjoy watching hours of sexist propaganda then this is the show for you. Every single woman is positively depicted; either as a genius, strong minded, unusually gifted or simply as a manipulated victim of men - literally all of whom are shown in a negative light one way or another. This is not just Feminism as several reviewers have noted. Rather it is the pronounced and repeated assertion that women are intrinsically good, intelligent and strong whilst men are either bad, stupid or weak. Whilst Feminism calls quite rightly for gender equality, this 21st century 'Femscist' interpretation contends that women are superior in every respect and should always be obeyed - even if their thoughts are without any factual or scientific basis but simply based upon 'female intuition' - that sublime universal force that plainly outsmarts even Nature itself.

I couldn't watch beyond the first episode as my nausea was too strong. But I am sure that its shortcomings are representative of the whole series as other reviewers have commented. The whole idea of a vicious sex murderer following a subconscious pattern in choosing the locations of his crimes is a bit loopy in the first place. But the instant availability after 13 years without contact of four old women friends to just drop everything in their lives and pursue an unknown murderer stretches the imagination even further. They deceive their husbands in order to do this but that relationship dishonesty is not even discussed let alone criticised. Children are farmed out to friends, husbands are left to themselves and any employers are simply ignored. All is possible for our four genius heroes.

It is an education to watch this effluent and all readers are encouraged to do so. Then look at the media around you, look on the streets and in the shops. And ask yourselves just how far has Femscism progressed in our every day lives - and just how far does it go in the future? Shame on those who took part in this show.
7 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Melodramatic with poor research
greg823 March 2014
An enjoyable series which started brilliantly but has lost marks from me owing to its descent into melodrama and the use of clichéd villains.

The writers have also fallen into a common trap for UK series (e.g. "Poirot") of believing that smuggling was/is a police matter. It was not and is not. In the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s it would have been investigated by Customs & Excise, not the police. Now (2014) it would come under the remit of the Border Force and/or the NCA (depending on the scale of the crime).

Otherwise it is watchable but not in the same class as UK series such as "Sherlock", "Death in Paradise" and "Jonathan Creek".
8 out of 25 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
bit of a dud
Rollum12 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
A group of women,each one gifted with a heightened ability, combine their powers of infallible memory,advanced logic,statistical analysis and advanced code deciphering in order to help the authorities capture a serial killer.

There is periodic references to the post war psyche and the social oppression of woman. The main character Susan (Anna Maxwell Martin) cant suppress her ability to recognize patterns, a skill she employed during the War as a member of a top secret government agency referred to as Bletchley (Bletchley Park). Susan attempts to solve a series of murders to spite her war hero husbands demands that she put her role of dutiful housewife first.Even the police treat her with indifference.Unable to crack the case alone Susan appeals to her former colleagues for help.

Each of our heroes are still bound by the values and sense of responsibility that helped win the War. There is a shroud of secrecy regarding their work for the war effort and our heroes cant discuss their experiences with anyone else.

This all sounds pretty exciting and this interesting plot started out with some promise.....BUT.........

The final climax of this story is a total let down. The whole thing crash landed with a ridiculously rushed and contrived ending that totally unraveled everything i thought was clever about the story.Like a bomb that never went off this post war thriller was a dud that left me totally disappointed.
7 out of 26 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed