Michael Caine The Ipcress File

ITV commission six-part thriller The Ipcress File

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ITV has announced the commissioning of a new six-part thriller based on Len Deighton’s The Ipcress File.

The Ipcress File was the first thriller written by Len Deighton and the basis of a stand-out 1965 Michael Caine film. This new TV versions is written by BAFTA winner John Hodge, directed by Emmy Winner James Watkins and stars Joe Cole (Gangs of London, Peaky Blinders), Lucy Boynton (Bohemian Rhapsody, Murder on the Orient Express) and Tom Hollander (The Night Manager, Birdbox). Joe Cole plays Harry Palmer, the part Caine brought to life so vividly. The novel was set against a backdrop of Cold War Europe, and since release in 1962 has sold over ten million copies.

ITV’s Head of Drama, Polly Hill, gives this overview of the new series:

It’s 1963. Cold war rages between West and East. Nuclear bombers are permanently airborne. In this highly charged atmosphere, we join Harry Palmer — a British army sergeant on the make in Berlin. In this newly partitioned city, a sharp working-class young man with sophisticated tastes can make a lot of money. Wholesaler, retailer, fixer, smuggler, Harry’s varied interests bring him into contact with everything and everyone – until the law catches up and it all comes crashing to a halt.

Harry finds himself sentenced to eight years in a grim military jail in England, all his prospects abruptly torn away.

But his impressive network and efficiency have not gone unnoticed, and a gentleman from British intelligence has a proposal. To avoid prison, Harry Palmer will become a spy. And the case on which he cuts his teeth will be The Ipcress File. 

We note this could be the first of a long-running series as Harry Palmer went on to appear in six books, and Caine reprised the role in two of the three other films made from them: Funeral in Berlin and Billion Dollar Brain. He also appeared in two original films: Bullet to Beijing and Midnight in St Petersburg. Filming is being split between Croatia and Liverpool.