Enigma - The film
In the summer of 1939, with the threat of war looming, a small team of scholars-turned-codebreakers arrived at Bletchley Park, a country estate in Buckinghamshire. Their mission: to crack the Nazi Enigma cypher, the backbone of German military and intelligence communications. The odds against their success were a staggering 150,000,000,000,000,000,000 to 1. But succeed they did - a triumph that was one of the greatest intellectual achievements of the twentieth century, helping to shorten WWII by at least two years.
This is the setting for Enigma, based on Robert Harris's best-selling thriller. It is March 1943 and the codebreakers are facing their worst nightmare. Nazi U-boats have unexpectedly changed their Enigma cypher - the code by which they communicate with each other and the German High Command. Suddenly, the Battle of the Atlantic hangs in the balance.
Mick Jagger, a great fan of the Bletchley Park story, was quick to secure the film rights to Harris's novel when it was first published. Produced by Jagger's own production company, Jagged Films, Enigma is directed by Michael Apted and stars Dougray Scott, Kate Winslet and Saffron Burrows. The screenplay is the work of Tom Stoppard.
Enigma, the film, is based on the true story of Bletchley Park. Today, the Park is a heritage site where visitors can marvel at one of the greatest achievements of the last century. It is also an educational facility, centre for exhibitions and conferences and is soon to have a technology business incubator - the Innovation Centre.
Bletchley Park almost didn't survive to tell its own story.
In 1991, the Park was deserted, its buildings facing demolition. The secrecy that had been so essential to its success during the war was now threatening its very survival. For secrecy meant ignorance, starving Bletchley Park of investment and resulting in its slow decline. By the time the public become aware of the Park's wartime and technological significance, it was almost too late. Almost, but not quite.
The Bletchley Park Trust was formed in 1992 with the aim of preserving the site for posterity. So began a long and arduous campaign. The Trust fought off hostile bids from property speculators and waded through a mountain of Government red tape to clinch a deal, signed in 1999, that saved this precious jewel for the nation.
Bletchley Park receives no public funding. The objective of today's distinguished Trust Board is to secure a long-term future for Bletchley Park. The vision: a heritage site of international repute, building on the pioneering work of the codebreakers.
Tom Jericho, played by Dougray Scott
Hester, played by Kate Winslet
The Bombes, which were recreated for the film.