Machines take me by surprise with great frequency.’ – Alan Turing

The Imitation Game is released in cinemas nationwide this week, and we were absolutely overjoyed to be invited along to Bletchley Park to see a preview of the film last week.

The film is a dramatic portrayal of the life and work of Bletchley Park’s Second World War codebreaker Alan Turing, the film stars a host of British acting talent including Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Mark Strong, Matthew Goode and Charles Dance.

There will be no surprise when we say that Bletchley is steeped in history. If you’re ever afforded the opportunity to visit, please take it. Before the film, we wandered around enriching ourselves of the accomplishments of the talented code-breakers. Of course with a glass of champers in one and a canapé in the other!

We were overwhelmed with the film. It is a nail-biting race against time to crack the German’s Enigma machine and save millions of lives. The sheer scope and complexity of Turing’s story could have been a daunting task. However, director Morten Tyldum and screenwriter Graham Moore tell the story of an unlikely hero with aplomb.

After the film, which was screened in the Teleprinter hall, we entered the main house for food and excitingly the opening of a behind the scenes exhibition. Entering the exhibition on a red carpet in the billiard room, we were treated visitors to the actual costumes worn by the stars, Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley as Alan Turing and Joan Clarke, as well as the boys at Sherborne School, where a young Alan was played by Alex Lawther.

Once inside the ballroom itself, we posed for a photo in the bar actually used in the film. There are an array of items on display which included the Enigma intercepts which Alan Turing stuffs into his socks and trousers to sneak them off-site, the scribbles made by John Cairncross (played by Downton Abbey’s Allen Leech) and the prototype Bombe machine Turing names Christopher, after his first love.

Sarah Kay, Bletchley Park’s digitisation and exhibitions officer, said: “The Imitation Game exhibition is an opportunity to not only provide our existing audiences the chance to see some of the film’s set dressing and some of the fantastic objects and documents created by the film’s art department.

“It is also an opportunity for us to reach new audiences of film fans who otherwise may not be familiar with the secret wartime work of Alan Turing and the thousands of other heroes who undertook arguably the most important work of their lives.

“The making of the film will send the history of Bletchley Park worldwide with such incredibly impressive and intense performances by some of Britain’s most elite actors.”

The behind the scenes look at The Imitation Game is to run for a year. Even more reason to visit Bletchley Park!

Until next time…