New ‘Bletchley Circle’ showrunner explains the difference between TV drama in US and UK

The Bletchley Circle is back with a new transatlantic spin-off.

Continuing the world of ITV’s popular post-WW2 crime drama, which was cancelled in 2014, the new sequel series is set in San Francisco in the mid-1950s and features two of the original British lead characters.

The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco sees Julie Graham and Rachael Stirling return as Jean and Millie, where they join up with two American codebreakers to investigate a string of new murder cases in four two-part standalone stories.

Asked what he sees as the difference between British and American TV, and what makes British drama series feel so British, The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco executive producer and showrunner Michael MacLennan said: “One is just an absolute insistence on verisimilitude. There’s a texture of reality that I think people respond to around the world, but there’s a sense of emotional truth to a moment, the way that the worlds are presented.”

He explained: “There isn’t that same kind of sheen, whether it’s on an actor’s face or the room where she’s standing. The second thing that’s kind of wound up with that, is that there’s less of a reliance on narrative pyrotechnics. You’re not trying to astonish somebody at every turn, at every act-out.

“The stories can feel more grounded and in so doing, in a weird way, more compelling, because you’re inviting an audience into an emotional moment rather than feeling like you have to keep hitting them with a barrage of extraordinary events. ”

The first two seasons of The Bletchley Circle are available to buy on DVD now.

The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco is currently airing at 9pm on Wednesday nights on ITV in the UK and is available in the US exclusively on Britbox.