We now have our first look at Gangs of London star Joe Cole as iconic British spy Harry Palmer in ITV’s upcoming remake of the 1965 Michael Caine classic, The Ipcress File. Sporting the same thick-rimmed spectacles and splendid tailoring as the original, the upcoming update of The Ipcress File is being adapted for the small screen in this new six-part series, which will follow Palmer, an entrepreneurial army sergeant in post-war Berlin, who gets drawn into a life of espionage when the law catches up with his life of crime. He’s given the chance to turn his life around by the secret service, with the Ipcress File his first job.
The dapper spy played by Joe Cole will be joined in the series by Bohemian Rhapsody actress Lucy Boynton and Pride & Prejudice and In the Loop star Tom Hollander, who plays Major Dalby, Harry’s handler. Ashley Thomas (NYPD Blue, Top Boy, The Night Of) will also feature as Maddox, alongside Joshua James (Darkest Hour, Industry, Life) as Chico, David Dencik (Top of the Lake, Chernobyl) as Colonel Stok and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (Avengers: Endgame, Avengers: Infinity War) as Cathcart.
The serial take on The Ipcress File is being written by Trainspotting scribe John Hodge, who plans to fold a lot of modern ideals and current events into the old world of espionage. “This is a wonderful opportunity to inhabit a time when the post-war world was morphing into the way we live now, when social mobility, civil rights, and modern feminism were forcing their way into public consciousness, and all of it happening with the world divided into two and both halves threatening to blow the whole thing sky high,” Hodge said of his approach to The Ipcress File update.
ITV’s Head of Drama Polly Hill also commented on the upcoming adaptation, praising the talent of Peaky Blinders star Joe Cole and his ability to make the role of Harry Palmer is own. “I’m thrilled to be bringing John Hodge’s brilliant adaptation of such an iconic novel to ITV,” Hill said. “Harry Palmer is an incredible part and this would have been impossible without the right actor, so we are all delighted that Joe Cole will take on the role. The talent on and off screen means this will be a treat for audiences when it comes to ITV.”
Directing all six episodes of The Ipcress File is James Watkins, whose previous credits include the likes of McMafia, Black Mirror, and The Woman In Black.
Directed by Sidney J. Furie and starring Michael Caine as Palmer, the original The Ipcress File was based on Len Deighton’s novel The IPCRESS File and is now considered a cinematic classic. The story follows Harry Palmer, an insubordinate British spy who is tasked with investigating the kidnappings and brainwashed reappearances of top scientists, including Dr. Radcliffe, played by Aubrey Richards. Seeking an opportunity to right past wrongs, Palmer navigates his way through criminals, secret agents, and his superiors when he discovers a mysterious audiotape labelled “IPCRESS,” an inconspicuous, but ominous, piece of evidence that he believes could link to brainwashing.
The Ipcress File is set to air on the British channel ITV and will likely then be made available via streaming. This comes to us from ITV.