Radio Memories – Hut 33.

Hut 33 (BBC Radio 4, 2007-2009)

This is a sitcom that was set during the war, the Second World War that is, although it was rather different to the likes of Dad’s Army. Hut 33 concentrated on a group of rather inept and mismatched codebreakers at Bletchley Park in 1941, and had a rather impressive cast. In the hut, waiting for the coded messages are Charles (Robert Bathurst), a professor who is rather upper-class, and it is unclear where his sympathies lie. And there is also Archie (Tom Goodman-Hill), who is a Geordie.

Charles and Archie have nothing in common, and seem to argue about everything, when they are supposed to be helping with the war effort, but that’s where most of the comedy comes from of course. And there is also Gordon, who is only 17 and is a maths genius, but he is also very na├»ve for his age, he doesn’t seem to know when people are serious or not, and needs lots of things explained to him. hut

I think I’m right in saying that they were in the last of all the huts, so they seemed to be a little more distant and neglected than the others. They must remember not to tell anybody what they’re up to, because it’s all awfully hush-hush really. Can they keep their rather British stiff upper-lip attitude and carry on. Well they do have some trouble deciphering the messages that they receive, it’s like they’re all in code or something.

There were a few other cast members, who are Joshua, who is in charge of what’s happening in the hut. And there’s also Mrs Best, who runs a bar, and often surprises the others by claiming to have known just about every major figure around at the time, and rather well too, simply saying “I’ve had him”. And finally there’s Minka (Olivia Colman, long before winning many prestigious awards), who is Polish and has a rather aggressive attitude to everything. She also likes to creep up on the others without them realising, and they jump every single time.

Various episodes deal with the team’s antics, as they caused awkward situations, meeting people of various nationalities, and often wondered if this blasted war was ever going to end. There were three series of Hut 33 that developed well, and it seemed go down all with critics too. I’m not usually that interested in wartime shows, but I definitely enjoyed this one.