During the Second World War, tucked away in the country at Bletchley Park, the most brilliant mathematical minds in Britain were working to crack the complex German military code known as Enigma.
One of them was the eccentric genius Alan Turing, who invented a machine that broke the code. For his efforts, which shortened the war by two years and saved an estimated two million lives, he was decorated by Churchill, but the top-secret nature of his work meant that his vital contribution remained unknown to the wider public.
But Enigma wasn’t the only code he broke. At a time when homosexual acts were considered a criminal offence, Turing’s arrest on a charge of gross indecency after admitting to a sexual liaison with a young man he’d recently met, shattered the homophobic social code.
The public humiliation that followed, and his choice to undergo chemical castration rather than serve a prison sentence, left him physically and mentally debilitated. In 1954, he died by his own hand, aged 41, forgotten and alone.
Half a century later, Turing is now lauded as a British hero. After being posthumously pardoned by the Queen, his story was immortalised in the film The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch. The legislation that secured pardons for 75,000 other men and women convicted of similar crimes has become known as ‘the Alan Turing Law’, and in 2021 he became the new face of the £50 note.
This acclaimed biographical drama investigates who he was, what happened to him, and why. It’s a compassionate and poignant depiction of the life of an extraordinary man, his creativity, his yearning for love and companionship, and his deep humanity.
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