Picks and Pans Review: Breaking the Code
In this 90-minute Masterpiece Theatre production, Derek Jacobi (I, Claudius) re-creates a role he originated on the London and Broadway stage: Alan Turing, the British mathematician whose work in the '30s led to the birth of the digital computer. During World War II, Turing was also instrumental in helping the government crack the German Enigma code. But the gay Turing broke taboos as well as codes. After the war, he ran afoul of both the penal code (homosexual activity was illegal in Britain) and the empire that he had served so well. In the '50s, with the discovery of gay spies in its ranks, the government regarded him as a security risk and monitored his activities. Breaking the Code is much more concerned with dramatizing the reckless homosexual than the mathematical genius, which to some extent does Turing's memory a disservice. Jacobi, in a performance of winsome charm and thundering anger, heads a good cast that includes Amanda Root (Persuasion) as a mathematician who carries a torch for Turing.