The-Bletchley-CirclePBS has announced it has picked up the rights to the second series of the British ITV drama series The Bletchley Circle.

The 1950s based crime drama series stars Anna Maxwell Martin, Rachael Stirling, Sophie Rundle and Julie Graham. It was renewed by British broadcaster ITV earlier this year for a four-part second season. The first series of The Bletchley Circle aired in September 2012 and was a critical hit for ITV.

PBS recently picked up the second season rights to fellow British/ITV drama Mr. Selfridge. The lavish department-store series stars Jeremy Piven and Katherine Kelly and chronicles the founding of the London store Selfridges. PBS will also air the third season of BBC drama Call the Midwife and fourth season of Downton Abbey both of which have been hits for the broadcaster.

Press Release:

THE BLETCHLEY CIRCLE is returning to PBS for a second season, it was announced today. The four-part series will air on Sunday nights in spring 2014. A production of World Productions (United, “Line of Duty”) and distributed worldwide by Content Television, the series premiered in the U.S. last spring to critical acclaim. The show will top off an evening of destination drama on Sunday nights on PBS, including season three of CALL THE MIDWIFE at 8:00 p.m. and season two of MASTERPIECE “Mr. Selfridge” at 9:00 p.m.

“We’re thrilled to bring back THE BLETCHLEY CIRCLE,” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming, PBS. “It is a smart show that features fascinating, strong women characters and superb writing. Drama has always been a critical part of what we offer on PBS and the audience reaction to THE BLETCHLEY CIRCLE and other shows has been fabulous.”

Hoppe also explained that Sunday viewership increased by 25 percent (Sunday night ratings increase compared from Sept. 2011-June 2012 to Sept. 2012-June 2013) since PBS has created a lineup of British drama and history programs — such as CALL THE MIDWIFE and SECRETS OF HIGHCLERE CASTLE — that complement its flagship drama series, MASTERPIECE, during the 2012-2013 season.

“Blood on Their Hands” (episodes 1 & 2 of season 2) opens with two back-to-back episodes where viewers find former Bletchley Park girl Alice Merren in prison awaiting trial for murder. Jean stands behind her innocence and tries to reunite the circle in an attempt to help one of their own. Susan is reluctant to get involved after her experience with the twisted serial killer Malcolm Crowley and the danger it posed to her family. Lucy is now getting on well in a clerical job at Scotland Yard and keeping her head down, and Millie is working as a German translator.

Episodes 3 and 4, “Uncustomed Goods,” find Millie branching out into what she believes to be an innocent sideline of dealing in unaccustomed goods. This endeavor leads to her being kidnapped and held in a seedy hotel by some gangsters. On discovering this, Alice goes to Jean and Lucy to help. The girls start to investigate in order to save their friend and, as they do so, uncover a much darker, hidden world of crime.

Distributed worldwide by Content Television, Season 2 of THE BLETCHLEY CIRCLE is created and written by Guy Burt (“Kingdom,” “The Borgias”) produced by Trevor Hopkins (“Strike Back” “Kidnap and Ransom”) and executive produced by Jake Lushington (“The Devil’s Whore,” “Mysterious Creatures”). Story 1 is directed by Jamie Payne (“The White Queen” “Doctor Who”) and story 2 is directed by Sarah Harding (“Queer as Folk” “Pollyanna”).

As previously announced, PBS and MASTERPIECE will broadcast a second season of “Mr. Selfridge,” starring Jeremy Piven as the flamboyant American entrepreneur who founded the famous Selfridge’s department store. Season two will air on MASTERPIECE CLASSIC in 2014.

PBS also announced in May a third season of the award-winning BBC hit CALL THE MIDWIFE. Continuing PBS’ Sunday nights of drama, CALL THE MIDWIFE (Season 3) will premiere in 2014. CALL THE MIDWIFE (Season 3) will bring viewers back to East London, 1959 and the eve of the Swinging Sixties, a time when the winds of change swept through the country and the residents of Nonnatus House face some momentous changes of their own.

CALL THE MIDWIFE stars Jessica Raine as Jenny Lee, along with Jenny Agutter (“The Railway Children,” “Spooks”) as Sister Julienne, Pam Ferris (“Little Dorrit,” “Darling Buds of May”) as Sister Evangelina, Miranda Hart (“Miranda”) as Chummy, Judy Parfitt (“Little Dorrit,” Girl With a Pearl Earring) as Sister Monica Joan, Helen George (“Hollyoaks,” “Doctors”) as Trixie Franklin, Bryony Hannah (Cemetery Junction) as Cynthia Miller, Laura Main (“Monarch of the Glen”) as Shelagh and Cliff Parisi (“EastEnders”) as Fred. Vanessa Redgrave provides The Voice of the mature Jennifer. CALL THE MIDWIFE is a Neal Street production for BBC, executive produced by Pippa Harris (Revolutionary Road, “The Hollow Crown”) and Heidi Thomas. The series is produced by Hugh Warren (“Survivors”).

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