Film star Benedict Cumberbatch lauds decision to screen war classics at open air cinema in Milton Keynes

Film fans can spend a late summer evening watching a Second World War classic and a classic in the making in Bletchley Park's historic grounds, something movie star Benedict Cumberbatch feels strongly about.

Thursday, 21st April 2016, 4:25 am
Benedict Cumberbatch

An open air cinema will show The Great Escape on September 2 and The Imitation Game on September 3.

Both films are based on true stories of the Second World War, and were voted for by Bletchley Park’s Facebook followers.

The Oscar-winning biopic The Imitation Game tells the story of the Codebreaker, mathematician and pioneering computer scientist, Alan Turing. Pivotal scenes were filmed in the iconic Victorian Mansion at Bletchley Park, where The Imitation Game, The Exhibition gives a peek behind the scenes of the movie with props, costumes and exclusive interviews.

Speaking to the Bletchley Park Trust, Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Alan Turing, described the scenes shot at Bletchley Park as magical moments.

He said: “It really was very special. You really feel like you’re playing slightly with ghosts. It’s nerve-racking, fictionalising what happened.”

Benedict also says it’s “hugely important” that Bletchley Park is kept alive and accessible.

“To work where these people breathed, lived, loved, worked, struggled, kept secrets, were quietly, stoically heroic, was overwhelming.

“It’s incredibly important that it’s open to the public, and is something that’s well funded and supported and continues, because this is our history.”

On the opening night, classic war film The Great Escape will grace the outdoor screen on the croquet lawn. Also based on a true story, a group of allied prisoners who’ve escaped repeatedly from prison camps are rounded up and put in a supposedly escape-proof camp.

Their mission is to get not only themselves, but several hundred prisoners, out. They sneakily dig a tunnel, surreptitiously emptying pockets full of soil. The second half of the film is high adventure as the escaped prisoners race to get out of Nazi occupied Europe.

Open air cinema goers are encouraged to bring a chair or rug to sit on, a picnic to enjoy and to dress up if the fancy takes them, either in 1940s vintage style or to theme their outfit to the film they’re seeing.

Tickets cost £14.50 for adults and £8 for 12-16 year olds. Gates open at 6.30pm and both films will begin at 7.45pm. Book here.