Bletchley Girls - radio play

Inside Bletchley Park, Dilly Knox enlists a small team of girls to crack some of the enemy’s toughest codes. Whilst Margaret Rock is a trained statistician, the newest recruit is Mavis Lever, 19 years old and a student of German romantic poetry. A friendship develops between this unlikely pair as pressure mounts on them to decipher intercepts which will impact the course of the war. It’s a phenomenal task - “We must know what Hitler knows” - and they work against the clock – and the odds. But it’s not all night shifts and Enigma machines; there are dances, pranks, and even a touch of romance.

Jenny Wren Productions presents this brand new radio drama based on the untold true story of two female codebreakers at Bletchley Park at the height of World War II.

Bletchley Girls is a stage play that was due to be performed in May and June 2020 at a number of Gloucestershire venues. The coronavirus pandemic put a stop to that for now, and so the creative team adapted the play for the radio. The finished product will be broadcast as part of the Gloucester History Festival on 17, 18 and 19 September.

The radio play will be distributed through the Community Media Association and the Hospital Broadcast Association. It will also be available on Jenny Wren Productions’ YouTube channel. The play can also be heard via the Gloucester Cathedral website here.

Bletchley_Girls_Brief_Summary-Back_Story.docx (15.0 KB) Bletchley_Girls_Press_Release.docx (208.0 KB)

The audio files are now available. Go to https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdLKoVKWQb6R-TCU_SEjb0FrvxjkZz1VGoF_wPO9HkvYx5Syg/viewform and complete the registration/licence form to be able to download them.

Cheers,

Nigel

1 Like

Thank you @nigel.dallard :+1:t5:

A journalist has interviewed Tony Comer, GCHQ historian (and recently retired), for 45 minutes about Bletchley Girls.

The Tony Comer interview has been edited and is now available. Tony is interviewed by Ann Morrison, an international journalist, about the historical background to Bletchley Girls.

It is just over 45 minutes long but we hope you’ll find it sufficiently compelling to broadcast it in its entirety to accompany the radio play.

For those who are concerned about the length and want to air only portions of the interview, here are some of the highlights.

  • Tony discusses the role social class and gender played at Bletchley, including Mavis’s Imposter Syndrome (9:21).

  • Tony speaks of the Turing ‘myth’ of the tragic gay icon vs the more complex three dimensional character he was (31:44).

  • Denniston’s departure as the person in charge of Bletchley was due to intrigue by a number of players at Bletchley, including his successor, E Travis. The ‘Action This Day’ letter referred to in the play is part of that scheme. (29:56)

  • Tony explores the relationship between a number of the main characters. This includes Mavis and Margaret and their friendship at Bletchley and after the war (17:08) and women’s changing role in society (39:41). The sometimes challenging relationship between Dilly Knox and Alastair Denniston is also covered (23:09).

  • Tony briefly discusses some of the historic areas of discrimination in recruiting talent but indicates that people with neural differences (blind, autistic) have long been recognised as having a major contribution to make (39:53).

A transcript is available here: Tony_Comer_Transcript.pdf (175.9 KB)

If you wish to broadcast the 45 minute interview with Tony Comer then please email info@commedia.org.uk and we can send it out.