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The Bletchley Park Podcast

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The historic site of secret British codebreaking during WW2 & the birthplace of modern computing. Stories from the codebreakers, staff & volunteers, audio from events & lectures, and news on the progress of the development of Bletchley Park.

The historic site of secret British codebreaking during WW2 & the birthplace of modern computing. Stories from the codebreakers, staff & volunteers, audio from events & lectures, and news on the progress of the development of Bletchley Park.
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The historic site of secret British codebreaking during WW2 & the birthplace of modern computing. Stories from the codebreakers, staff & volunteers, audio from events & lectures, and news on the progress of the development of Bletchley Park.




E74 - Sound and Vision

July 2018 This month we swing a shoe, meet the artist exploring the layers and fragmentation of the Bletchley Park story and hear from a Foreign Office clerk who thought she was going to be a spy. Hear what happened when Bletchley Park played host to a Guinness World Record attempt at the largest swing dance lesson. The swing dance club, JiveSwing, led the couples, many of whom who’d turned out in their best vintage gear, in a half hour lesson followed by a three minute dance, to take a...


E73 - Bond at Bletchley Park

June 2018 This month it’s all about 007\. Bletchley Park has opened a new exhibition in historic Hut 12, featuring memos, letters and personal photographs of Ian Fleming, a fantastic collection of Bond novels through the decades and original, specially commissioned works by talented and innovative artists, inspired by scenes, themes and characters from Bond novels. The Bond creator and author, Ian Fleming, worked in Naval Intelligence during World War Two, and had close links with...


E72 - Fishing Season

May 2018 The Bletchley Park story is about more than Enigma. A different kind of traffic was also coming over the airwaves, being intercepted and mined for crucial intelligence. But it was generated by an even more fiendishly complex system than Enigma, which was itself believed to be unbreakable. Lorenz was the machine being used by Hitler and his high command to send top level, strategic messages. It was less portable and more secure than Enigma, but that didn’t defeat the boffins at...


The Petard Pinch

December 2015 A story full of heroism and tragedy is now told at Bletchley Park in a new mini exhibition. The Petard Pinch was the seizure of vital codebooks from a sinking U-Boat in which two young men drowned. But they didn’t die in vain - the intelligence treasures they captured were extremely valuable. They allowed the Codebreakers at Bletchley Park to break back into the naval Enigma network Shark, after a devastating ten month blackout. Image: Petard Crew 1942 ©The Petard Association...


E41 - Best Ever Year

December 2015 Bletchley Park has had its best ever year. In the whole of 2014, 196,000 people came to discover the secret world of World War Two codebreaking and this year, with nearly a month still to go, the figure stands at more than 280,000 thousand. New exhibitions which opened this year included The Road to Bletchley Park, about codebreaking during World War One, and the little-known story of one of World War Two’s forgotten heroes, Gordon Welchman. Among the treasures which went on...


Extra - E47 - How computers were used against Hitler

December 2015 Professor Jack Copeland, Director of the Turing Archive for the History of Computing, celebrated another forgotten hero of Bletchley Park, Max Newman, as part of the Bletchley Park Presents lecture series. His August talk ‘How Computers Were Used Against Hitler’, was a huge success. Professor Copeland explored the story of little-recognised Codebreaker Max Newman, whose work was fundamental to the construction of the first electronic computer, Colossus. The section he founded...


Extra - E46 - Last chance to see That is All You Need to Know

November 2015 Time is running out to see That is All You Need to Know, an original play which shines a light on the Home of the Codebreakers. Created by theatre company, Idle Motion, the work pulls together three different strands of Bletchley Park’s history; Alan Turing and his team breaking the Enigma code during World War Two, Gordon Welchman writing his ground-breaking book, The Hut Six Story, in the 1970s and the campaign to save the site for posterity in the 1990s. That is All You...


Did Churchill know Coventry was about to be bombed?

November 2015 In the throes of war, difficult decisions have to be made. Prime Minister Winston Churchill was fully aware that Bletchley Park was breaking German codes, and even received regular digests of the intelligence gleaned, known as Hut 3 Headlines. However, a myth was born in the mid-1970s that remains in circulation even now. The theory was that messages decoded by Bletchley Park warned Churchill that the Luftwaffe was heading for Coventry on 14 November 1940, and that he allowed...


E40 - The Coventry Myth

November 2015 Hindsight can be cruel. The conspiracy theory that Churchill allowed Coventry to be bombed beyond recognition, killing hundreds of civilians, in order to protect the Ultra secret - that Bletchley Park was breaking German codes - is a myth. In this episode we bring you memories of the devastating air raid on Coventry, which took place 75 years ago, on 14 November 1940. Hear from Sir Arthur Bonsall, who worked in the German Air Section, debunking the myth. And Bletchley Park’s...


When she speaks of Bletchley, a light comes into her eyes

November 2015 Sarah Harding’s mother remembers Bletchley Park as a happy place. Dorothy Harding, nee Thompson, worked as a Morse slip reader in the Communications Centre from 1943 to the end of the war. Many years later, Sarah directed the hit ITV drama, The Bletchley Circle, about four fictional women who worked at the Government Code and Cypher School during World War Two and, some ten years later, regrouped in secret to solve mysteries including murder. Now Sarah is joining a worldwide...


Extra - E45 - Anthony and Michael de Grey - Cementing Family Ties

October 2015 The Bletchley Park Trust is reaching out to Veterans’ families, to create a worldwide community of people with a special link to this unique piece of British history. The Trust is inviting relatives of the Codebreakers to cement their family ties with the breath-taking achievements of the Bletchley Park operation during World War Two. Their names and the importance of what they did was once shrouded in secrecy, but can now be celebrated in perpetuity. For the next six months...


E39 - Forgotten Genius

October 2015 In Forgotten Genius, the October 2015 episode of the Bletchley Park Podcast, we take you to the opening of a brand new, fascinating exhibition about Gordon Welchman, Bletchley Park’s Architect of Ultra Intelligence. Hear from Welchman’s granddaughter, Jennifer, who flew in specially to be at the launch and from his Hut 6 colleague, Jimmy Thirsk, who at the age of 101 is one of the last few of his kind left. Also featured is the grandson of a man who was involved in...


Last chance to see The Imitation Game, The Exhibition

October 2015 You’ve seen the Oscar winning film, now visit the set and get a rare insight into how the story of genius Codebreaker Alan Turing was brought to life. Benedict Cumberbatch said Filming at Bletchley Park was amazing. It was a very important part of the film. In the Ballroom and Billiard Rooms of the Mansion, this atmospheric exhibition is all about the making of The Imitation Game, in the very room where the bar scenes were filmed. Among the many behind the scenes gems are...


Extra - E44 - Commander Dennistons Granddaughters

September 2015 On 29 July Bletchley Park’s Royal Patron, HRH The Duke of Kent, officially opened the major new exhibition, The Road to Bletchley Park, telling the story of codebreaking during World War One. Many of those World War One Codebreakers went on to work at Bletchley Park during World War Two. Among them was Alastair Denniston the first operational head of the Government Code and Cypher School. The August episode of the Bletchley Park Podcast featured an edited version of an...


Rory Cellan-Jones - Loebner Prize Judge

September 2015 Chatbots have yet to fool the judges of the Loebner Prize into believing they’re human at the Loebner Prize. The 25th annual Artificial Intelligence competition, which puts the Turing test into practice, has ended without any of the judges being duped. The BBC’s Technology Correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones, was one of the four judges. He says it was easy to tell which of the conversations were with humans and which were with bots. When he started talking about keeping slugs...


Bletchley Park Presents Gordon Corera

September 2015 On 18 October the BBC’s Security Correspondent, Gordon Corera, will give a talk at Bletchley Park about his new book which traces the intertwined history of computing and espionage, Intercept – The Secret History of Computers and Spies. The computer was born to spy. Under the intense pressure of the Second World War and in the confines of Bletchley Park, the work of men like Alan Turing and Tommy Flowers led to the birth of the computing age. It was a breakthrough that...


E38 - We Meet Again

September 2015 Nearly ninety Veterans of the Government Code and Cypher School and its many outstations gathered at Bletchley Park on Sunday 6 September, to reminisce and meet old friends and new. After a summer of 70th anniversary commemorations, it was a chance for people who worked in secret at both Bletchley Park and its outstations to remember their contribution. They took the opportunity to bring their friends and families to soak up the atmosphere back in the very buildings where they...


VJ Day - when it was still a secret

August 2015 Seventy years ago on the 15th August 1945, small group of young women were quietly at work in Hut 16 at Bletchley Park. They included twins Valerie and Mary Glassborow, who later married brothers and among whose grandchildren was a girl who became HRHThe Duchess of Cambridge. Marion Graham (later Body) was also in that room in Hut 16, which Hut 6 was renamed as the codebreaking factory that was Bletchley Park grew and developed throughout World War Two. She recalls a moment of...


E37 - Royal Patron

August 2015 In this episode we take you to the royal launch of a major new exhibition, which looks at the roots of codebreaking as we know it. The Road to Bletchley Park was officially opened on July the 29th by Bletchley Park’s Royal Patron, HRH, The Duke of Kent. We have interviews with the designer, a sponsor, our friendly GCHQ Historian & family members of two of the WW1 codebreakers. This episode also features highlights of the last three years’ Veterans’ Reunions, as this year’s...


The Road to Bletchley Park

Today Bletchley Park’s Royal Patron, HRH The Duke of Kent, will officially open a major new exhibition telling the story of Codebreaking in World War One, The Road to Bletchley Park. The Duke will meet representatives of the exhibition’s sponsors, BAE Systems and Ultra Electronics, as well as visiting new displays and exhibitions updated since his last visit in 2009. Timed to coincide with the exhibition opening, the Bletchley Park Trust is delighted to republish a unique parody of Alice’s...