Updated: Thursday, 5th December 2019 @ 2:39pm

Biopic blockbuster on Manchester codebreaker Alan Turing announced as British Film Festival opener

Biopic blockbuster on Manchester codebreaker Alan Turing announced as British Film Festival opener

| By Josh Willacy

Alan Turing’s hotly-anticipated biopic starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley will open the British Film Festival it has been revealed alongside the film's first trailer.

The Imitation Game is based on Turing’s time at Milton Keynes cipher school Bletchley Park, where he and a team of cryptanalysts cracked the Nazi’s enigma code during the darkest days of WWII.

And will open the 58th BFI London Film Festival ahead of its full theatrical release on Wednesday October 8.

The film has already been tipped as an Oscar front runner, and the Weinstein Company – distributor of The King's Speech, The Artist and Silver Linings Playbook – paid out a record $7million (£4.11million) for the picture.

Turing’s undoubted genius saved countless lives and was responsible for significantly shortening the war.  He is considered the father of modern computer science.

After the war, the maths guru Turing came to Manchester University, where he worked on and artificial intelligence and developed artificial intelligence examination the Turing test, which is still used worldwide today.

Despite his work and contribution to British society, Turing fell victim to the British establishment when he was persecuted for his sexuality in 1952 and was convicted of gross indecency for having sex with 19-year-old Arnold Murphy.

Once convicted, he was banned from working with the government, subjected to barbaric treatment and was forced to undergo a chemical castration.

He died of cyanide poisoning two years later, which an inquest deemed as suicide. He was just 41 years old.

Turing biographer Andrew Hodges, spoke out last year against the emphasis on Turing’s relationship with friend and fellow Bletchley Park codebreaker Joan Clarke (played by Knightly) in the film script.

He claimed that film makers ‘built up the relationship with Joan much more than it actually was’ and although the two were engaged it was only ever very ‘brief’.

He told the Sundays Times: “Joan was really just a friend, with whom he could talk. She also said there was never much physical contact."

Image courtesy of Studio Canal UK via YouTube with thanks