Hut 33

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Hut 33
Running time 30 min.
Country United Kingdom
Language(s) English
Home station BBC Radio 4
Starring Tom Goodman-Hill
Robert Bathurst
Fergus Craig
Alex MacQueen
Olivia Colman
Lill Roughley
Writer(s) James Cary
Producer(s) Adam Bromley
Recording studio Broadcasting House
Air dates since 25 June 2007
No. of series 3
No. of episodes 18
Website Hut 33

Hut 33 is a BBC Radio 4 sitcom set at Bletchley Park in 1941. It includes both the writer (James Cary) and producer (Adam Bromley) from Think the Unthinkable and Concrete Cow.

Production[edit]

The first six-part series was recorded at the BBC Radio Theatre at Broadcasting House on 24 June, 1 July and 8 July 2007. It was broadcast at 11.30am on Mondays from 25 June–30 July 2007. The second series ran from 21 May–25 June 2008. James Cary began writing Series 3 in February 2009.[1] The third series was recorded on 25 May, 25 Sep and 27 Sep 2009. Series three broadcasts began 14 October 2009.

Cast[edit]

  • Tom Goodman-Hill as Archie, a Geordie Marxist. Spends a great deal of his time antagonising Charles.
  • Robert Bathurst as Professor Charles Gardner, the ultra-conservative snob and don who rejected Archie from Oxford University for not knowing how to use a fish knife at the dinner table.
  • Fergus Craig as Gordon, 17-year-old child maths prodigy, still in short trousers, in love with Minka.
  • Alex MacQueen as 3rd Lieut Joshua Fanshawe-Marshall ("Josh"), theoretically in charge of the hut, made 3rd Lt when he could not be demoted any further from 2nd Lt after losing a tank regiment in the Battle of France by driving them into the sea. Josh did attend Oxford, which angers Archie, especially once he discovers that Charles let Josh in as a quid pro quo for admission to the Garrick Club.
  • Olivia Colman as Minka, the Hut's Polish secretary, worryingly keen on extreme violence as the solution to all problems. Minka also takes jobs such as watchperson, interrogator, camp guard, detective and burglar. A running joke involves Minka startling the other characters by sneaking up silently and suddenly announcing her presence.
  • Lill Roughley as Mrs Best, their sex-obsessed landlady who claims to have bedded both Bomber Harris and Hermann Göring. Not to mention Donald Bradman, Albert Einstein and just about any other notable person of her time.
  • Winstanley, the silent occupant of Hut 33 always working at his desk. At any given time he may be naked, or wearing pyjamas, or otherwise eccentrically dressed. In series 1 episode 3 he decides to wear a suit of armour, so his responses are assorted clanks and creaks - or is he just an empty suit?

Episodes[edit]

Series 1[edit]

Episode # Title Original air date
1-1 "A Bridge Too Far" 25 June 2007 (2007-06-25)
Chalk from lower Newcastle meets Cheese from the upper classes. Charles gets fringe benefits from Mrs. Best, but Archie knows how to pull a fast one. Meanwhile, Hut 33 are playing Hut 6 in the Bletchley Inter-hut Bridge Tournament. Gordon can't play because he has a date with Minka - so rather than play with Charles, Archie would rather try and teach Josh how to play. It doesn't go well.
2-2 "Baghdad" 2 July 2007 (2007-07-02)
A posting to Iraq is up for grabs. Archie wants it but mainly to stop Charles from going. Charles is the obvious candidate being able to speak the local language and having been there before. Using bribery and blackmail, both seek to persuade Josh to nominate them, until Charles finds out the posting is not to Baghdad, but Iraq's version of Death Valley...
3-3 "Careless Talk" 9 July 2007 (2007-07-09)
The United Kingdom is surrounded by enemies, so when there's news of a security breach at Bletchley Park, everyone in Hut 33 is under suspicion. Then Nancy (Miranda Raison) arrives, the beautiful stranger who seems to want to know all about them.
4-4 "Don't Bet On It" 16 July 2007 (2007-07-16)
The hut have to play a football match against the local POWs. Charles refuses to get involved, deeming Association Football to be beneath him. But Archie wants to prove his masculinity on the pitch, but Hut 33's team are a shambolic mess. That's until Minka gets involved. Meanwhile, some private wagers between Charles and Josh get out of hand.
5-5 "Food" 23 July 2007 (2007-07-23)
Food Shortages are chronic, with the U-boats sinking vital supplies in the Atlantic. Things get so bad, Charles joins Archie's Marxist society.
6-6 "Oh Brother Where Art Thou?" 30 July 2007 (2007-07-30)
Archie is expecting a visit from his brother, but leave is restricted to one day per hut - and Charles has booked it. Archie seeks to persuade Charles to give him his day of leave. Meanwhile, Gordon undergoes a rapid Catholic conversion in an attempt to woo Minka.

Series 2[edit]

Episode # Title Original air date
7-1 "Royal Visit" 21 May 2008 (2008-05-21)
The Duke of Kent (Michael Fenton Stevens) is coming to inspect Bletchley Park, but the top brass are worried he is a Nazi sympathiser. Hut 33 has to delay him and make sure he doesn't see any of the code-breaking machines. Archie has to distract the Prince, but ends up making a bigger impact than he expected.
8-2 "Pigs N' Spivs" 28 May 2008 (2008-05-28)
Rations are in short supply so Hut 33 resorts to the services of a spiv. But when they order bacon in bulk they end up with more than they bargaining for. They take delivery of actual pig - which turns out to have come from a very questionable source.
9-3 "Yellow Fever" 4 June 2008 (2008-06-04)
There's a problem in Hut 33, they have to get their yellow fever vaccinations, from an aggressive Australian army doctor. Soon enough, they are in quarantine and the SS29 German 'whiskey' at the 1942 New Year's Eve party turns out to be something else entirely. Guests - Ben Crowe and Brendon Burns
10-4 "Where Boffins Dare" 11 June 2008 (2008-06-11)
Hut 33 try to improve their status within the Park by taking matters into their own hands. When they intercepts a message that a German spy is to be parachuted nearby, they decide to be there ready for him. But when he arrives, Charles is in for a pleasant surprise. And then several unpleasant ones.
11-5 "Getting Heavy" 18 June 2008 (2008-06-18)
Hut 33 are at the bottom of the interhut league tables. Deeply ashamed, but keen to make amends, they break into Hut 7b to steal crucial information on a message being decoded. But soon they end up in very hot water. Fortunately, Gordon becomes a man and takes charge.
12-6 "Yankee Diddle" 25 June 2008 (2008-06-25)
A rich American arrives at Hut 33 - and Archie and Charles see their chance to make some serious money, showing him and selling the finest, and fakest British artifacts. But the American's true identity proves to be very significant and severely problematic.

Series 3[edit]

Episode # Title Original air date
13-1 "Know Thyne Enemy" 14 October 2009 (2009-10-14)
It's 1942, the war is not going well and the codebreakers of Bletchley Park are under even more pressure than before. Hut 33, the worst performing hut, resorts to desperate measures to improve results. Archie, Gordon and Charles try to think like Germans to help them predict the letter combinations on the Enigma machine. Unfortunately their experiment in psychological warfare goes very badly awry.
14-2 "Big Machine" 21 October 2009 (2009-10-21)
Gordon invents a new form of computing device to help break codes. Mrs. Best uses her unique talents to get the materials, but then the machine puts the codebreakers out of work. They are re-assigned to a suicide mission. This episode is rich in sly references to information technology, including an "iTube" (a pneumatic tube message system) and a machine filling up with spam.
15-3 "Back to Your Post" 28 October 2009 (2009-10-28)
Charles has German relatives and is threatened with internment. Gordon gets mail from a secret admirer. Josh gets confused about how many Charleses he knows.
16-4 "Spitfire Poker" 4 November 2009 (2009-11-04)
The codebreakers of Bletchley Park are in the doghouse again, so to make amends they help raise money for the town's Spitfire fund. Unfortunately Charles promptly loses the money in a card game, trying to impress an old school chum, so the hut must try to win it back somehow. Archie can't believe Charles is so desperate to curry favour with a former prefect and Minka has trouble understanding the rules of gentlemen's clubs.
17-5 "Unlucky for Some" 11 November 2009 (2009-11-11)
Gordon is convinced that Hut 33's recent run of luck is thanks to his lucky mascot, Mr Pickles. But Archie is determined to prove that it's all down to natural intelligence and decides to put an end to Gordon's childish superstitions. At which point their luck promptly runs out; none of the codes make even the slightest sense. They are forced to move into Hut 13 - although a mystery surrounds the whereabouts of the former inhabitants. Perhaps the rumours about the Devil's Equation are true after all.
18-6 "Entente Cordiale" 18 November 2009 (2009-11-18)
French resistance operative Marie-Anne (Tessa Nicholson) is looking for brave, resourceful and courageous men to help her on an intelligence mission over France. Instead she meets the occupants of Hut 33. Archie, Gordon and Charles are all keen to impress their new lady friend, while Minka takes an irrational dislike to a fellow resistance fighter. Could things get any worse? With Josh in charge of supplies and his brother Neville flying the plane, the answer is yes.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cary, James (3 February 2009). "Starting Writing an Episode". Hut 33 blog. Retrieved on 10 March 2009.

External links[edit]