The Horror of Transgressive Femininity in The Bletchley Circle
This chapter will examine The Bletchley Circle’s depictions of femininity in crisis that manifest as a result of deviation from the postfeminist script. In Bletchley, these crises can only be resolved through an acceptance of and adherence to postfeminist gender norms. In its representation of its characters’ attempts to reject or move outside the normative boundaries of postfeminism, Bletchley demonstrates the futility of the attempted alternatives. With reference to aspects of horror scholarship, this chapter will discuss the series’ depiction of gender as a whole and particularly the depiction of Susan, the series’ ostensible main character. In this way, it will seek to demonstrate the ways in which the space outside of postfeminism and those who willingly occupy it are constructed as dangerous, deviant and destructive.
KeywordsBletchley Park Detective Interrogative gaze Postfeminism Gothic horror Final girl
- A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). Directed by W. Craven [Film]. Burbank: New Line Cinema.Google Scholar
- Agatha Christie’s Marple (2004–2013). Produced by Agatha Christie Ltd [DVD]. UK: ITV.Google Scholar
- Berger, J. (2008). Ways of Seeing. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
- The Bletchley Circle, ITV (2012a). ‘Cracking a Killer’s Code: Part One’. Directed by Andy De Emmony. Written by Guy Burt. UK: ITV, September 6. Available at: https://learningonscreen.ac.uk/ondemand (accessed 8 May 2017).
- The Bletchley Circle, ITV (2012b). ‘Cracking a Killer’s Code: Part Two’. Directed by Andy De Emmony. Written by Guy Burt. UK: ITV, September 13. Available at: https://learningonscreen.ac.uk/ondemand (accessed 8 May 2017).
- The Bletchley Circle, ITV (2012c). ‘Cracking a Killer’s Code: Part Three’. Directed Jamie Payne. Written by Guy Burt. UK: ITV, January 6. Available at: https://learningonscreen.ac.uk/ondemand (accessed 9 May 2017).
- The Bletchley Circle, ITV (2014a). ‘Blood on Their Hands: Part One’. Directed by Andy De Emmony. Written by Guy Burt. UK: ITV, September 6. Available at: https://learningonscreen.ac.uk/ondemand (accessed 10 May 2017).
- The Bletchley Circle, ITV (2014b). ‘Blood on Their Hands: Part Two’. Directed by Sarah Harding. Written by Guy Burt. UK: ITV, January 13. Available at: https://learningonscreen.ac.uk/ondemand (accessed 10 May 2017).
- The Bletchley Circle, ITV (2014c). ‘Uncustomed Goods: Part One’. Directed by Sarah Harding. Written by Guy Burt. UK: ITV, January 20. Available at: https://learningonscreen.ac.uk/ondemand (accessed 11 May 2017).
- Brontë, C. (1847). Jane Eyre. London: Smith Elder & Co.Google Scholar
- The Cabin in the Woods (2012). Directed by D Goddard [Film]. Santa Monica: Lionsgate.Google Scholar
- Carroll, R. (2016). ‘Stanford Swimmer Convicted of Sexually Assaulting Woman After Fraternity Party’. The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/mar/30/stanford-swimmer-convicted-of-sexually-assaulting-woman-after-fraternity-party (accessed 12 June 2019)
- Dika, V. (1987). ‘The Stalker Film, 1978–81’. In: G. Waller (ed.), American Horrors: Essays on the Modern American Horror Film. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 86–101.Google Scholar
- Dowell, B. (2014). ‘Julie Graham on The Bletchley Circle, All-female Casts… and Spice Girls Nicknames on Set’. RadioTimes. Available at: www.radiotimes.com/news/2014–01–06/julie-graham-on-the-bletchley-circle-all-female-casts-and-spice-girls-nicknames-on-set (accessed 27 July 2017).
- The Forrest (2016). Directed by J. Zada [Film ]. California: Gramercy Pictures.Google Scholar
- Foyle’s War (2002–2015). Written by A. Horowitz [DVD]. UK: ITV.Google Scholar
- Halloween (1978). Directed by J. Carpenter [Film]. California: Universal Pictures.Google Scholar
- ITV Press Centre (2014). ‘The Bletchley Circle (S2)’. Available at: www.itv.com/presscentre/press-packs/bletchley-circle-s2 (accessed 27 July 2017).
- Jowett, L. and Abbott, S. (2013). TV Horror. London: I. B. Tauris.Google Scholar
- Lewis, K. (2014). ‘Bletchley Park, No Longer the World’s Best Kept Secret’. BBC News. Available at: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-27808962 (accessed 13 February 2019).
- Lizardi, R. (2010). ‘“Re-imagining” Hegemony and Misogyny in the Contemporary Slasher Remake’. Journal of Popular Film and Television, 38(3), 113–121. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/01956051003623464 (accessed 2 August 2017).
- Lockyer, D. (2014). ‘Rachael Stirling: “I Should Have Asked my Ma’s Advice”’. Telegraph. Available at: www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/10548969/rachael-sterling-bletchley-circle-diana-rigg-dr-who.html (accessed 16 August 2017).
- Luckett, M. (2017). ‘Women’s History and Women’s Work: Popular Television as Feminine Historiography’. In: R. Moseley, H. Wheatley and H. Wood (eds), Television For Women: New Directions. London: Routledge, 15–33.Google Scholar
- Mahoney, C. (2015). ‘“Not Bad for a Few Ordinary Girls in a Tin Hut!” ̶ Re-imagining Women’s Social Experience of the Second World War Through Female Ensemble Drama’. Frames Cinema Journal, [online] (7), no pagination. Available at: http://framescinemajournal.com/article/not-bad-for-a-few-ordinary-girls-in-a-tin-hut-re-imagining-womens-social-experience-of-the-second-world-war-through-female-ensemble-drama/ (accessed 14 January 2019).
- Mainar, L. (1997). ‘Mulvey’s Alleged Avoidance of Essentialism in Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’. Atlantis, 19(2), 113–123.Google Scholar
- Moseley, R. (2002). Growing Up With Audrey Hepburn: Text, Audience, Resonance. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
- Ripper Street (2012–2016). Created by R. Warlow [DVD]. UK: BBC One and Amazon Prime Video.Google Scholar
- Scott & Bailey (2011–present). Created by S. Wainwright and D. Taylor [DVD]. UK: ITV.Google Scholar
- Scream: The TV Series (2015–present). Developed by J. Blotevogel, D. Dworkin and J. Beattie [Series]. USA: MTV.Google Scholar
- Scream Queens (2015–2016). Created by J. Ackerman [Series]. USA: VH1.Google Scholar
- Sex and the City (1998–2004). Created by D. Star [DVD]. New York: HBO.Google Scholar
- The Silence of the Lambs (1991). Directed by J. Demme [Film]. Los Angeles: Orion Pictures.Google Scholar
- Slasher (2016). Created by A. Martin [Series]. USA: Super Channel.Google Scholar
- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). Directed by T. Hooper [Film]. USA: Bryanston Distributing Company.Google Scholar
- Vera (2011–present). Created by A. Cleeves [DVD]. UK: ITV.Google Scholar
- Wheatley, H. (2006). Gothic Television. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar