The Ipcress File – ITV wants to reach beyond their standard viewer

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  1. The channel hopes their high budget adaptation can compete with the streaming services. 

With their version of The Ipcress File confirmed as part of their winter season, itv’s Director of Programmes Kevin Lygo has been talking about the show at a recent press launch.

The channel’s adaptation of the 1962 spy novel, made famous by Michael Caine’s movie, is set to star Joe Cole (Gangs of London) as Harry Palmer, with Lucy Boynton (Bohemian Rhapsody) as Jean and Tom Hollander (The Night Manager) playing Dalby. The novel plays out against a backdrop of Cold War Europe, and has sold over ten million copies.

According to comments reported by Deadline, Lygo commented that the series “looks like a big Netflix show” and joked that he was annoyed when people watched the trailer and assumed it was a show for the streamer, due to its scale and high budget. Of course, we haven’t seen that trailer yet but his comments certainly serve to increase our anticipation. We suppose that was probably his aim!

Lygo went on to say: “We don’t just want to attract the standard ITV viewer, we want to make this a special event” before going on to praise a terrific script by Trainspotting writer John Hodge.

“An extraordinary moment for drama viewers”

In order to meet higher production costs for The Ipcress File, itv has partnered with AMC+ who picked up the American rights. With six Harry Palmer books, plus a couple of non-Deighton films, there’s potential for an ongoing series too.

Later in the Deadline piece, Lygo talks about the increasingly competitive television market, saying:

“This is an extraordinary moment for drama viewers as there’s so much of it available in your living room. Half the country’s got Netflix, Amazon Prime or Disney+ so the bar has been raised and we’ve got to match it.”

He also points out that most streamers, save from Netflix, choose a weekly model for new content. This is consistent with the notion that viewers still enjoy discussing shows between episodes, either online or in-person. That or the streamers are keen to keep their subscribers by stretching out popular shows for as long as possible. Food for thought.

In the meantime, when we hear of an airdate for The Ipcress File, we’ll let you know.