Anna Maxwell Martin to star in new ITV crime drama

The Bletchley Circle will follow the lives of four crime-fighting former intelligence officers

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Anna Maxwell Martin is to star in a new ITV drama series about an all-female group of Second World War-era codebreakers turned crimefighters.

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The Bletchley Circle, which takes place in 1951, will centre on the lives of four former intelligence officers, played by Martin, Rachael Stirling, Sophie Rundle and Julie Graham, whose work during the war helped to crack encrypted German messages.

Eight years after the Allied victory, the women are all living quiet lives in suburbia until one of them comes up with an ingenious solution to a murder case.

Faced with scepticism by the police, she realises that the only way to solve the case will be to harness the code-cracking skills of her old friends and attempt to track down the killer.

The drama’s producer, Jake Lushington, said: “The Bletchley Circle is about what might have been. Despite the era they have come through, [these women] have the capacity, the ideas and the ability to process evidence and crack a murder case. In many ways it is a form of police profiling which was way ahead of its time.”

ITV’s head of drama commissioning, Laura Mackie, praised the talent on board for the project, saying: “The Bletchley Circle combines a vivid portrait of postwar Britain with a taut and original thriller. I’m delighted that we’ve attracted such a strong cast to bring it to life.”

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Written by The Borgias screenwriter Guy Burt, The Bletchley Circle will consist of four hour-long episodes, and filming on the series will begin in London at the end of April 2012.