Alan Turing: The Enigma

Date Published: 24.11.2014

New hit film The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, is the latest in a series of productions inspired by a book by Wadham Fellow Andrew Hodges.

Alan Turing: The Enigma, by Wadham’s Tutorial Fellow in Mathematics Dr Andrew Hodges, was originally published in 1983. This biography of Turing provided the inspiration for the screenplay written by Graham Moore for The Imitation Game, directed by Morten Tyldu and released this month.

The 2014 British-American historical thriller film is about British mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst and pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing. Turing was a key figure in cracking Nazi Germany's Enigma code, helping the Allies win World War II. Turing went on to be criminally prosecuted for his homosexuality.

Benedict Cumberbatch has been widely acclaimed for his performance of Turing in this new film. Keira Knightly, Rory Kinnear, Charles Dance and Matthew Goode also star in the film.

The Imitation Game is the latest in a series of arts and entertainment features inspired by Andrew Hodges’s book. On 23 July 2014, the Pet Shop Boys (Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe) performed a new musical work, A man from the future, including a narrated text drawn from Alan Turing: the Enigma. This was the final piece in a special Pet Shop Boys Late Night Prom in the BBC 2014 series of Promenade Concerts, at the Royal Albert Hall, London.

Alan Turing: the Enigma was also the basis for the 1986 play Breaking the Code by Hugh Whitemore, which first played in London and New York, starring Sir Derek Jacobi. It has been frequently performed by professional and amateur companies across the world since then and in 1996 it appeared as a television film and video, also featuring Derek Jacobi.

A television film The Strange Life and Death of Dr Turing by Christopher Sykes was made for the BBC Horizon series in December 1991, and first shown on 9 March 1992. Alan Turing: the Enigma also inspired the late artist and sculptor Sir Eduardo Paolozzi. Follow this link to view Andrew Hodges’ illustrated talk on Paolozzi's Turing prints (2000).

Andrew Hodges

Andrew Hodges, in this fine biography… brings Turing the thinker and Turing the man alive for the reader and thus allows us all to share in the privilege of knowing him.

Financial Times

Andrew Hodge’s book is of exemplary scholarship and sympathy. Intimate, perceptive and insightful, it’s also the most readable biography I’ve picked up in some time.

Time Out

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