‘The Ipcress File’ first look: ‘Peaky Blinders’ star leads new ’60s spy drama

ITV has released a sneak peek at their upcoming The Ipcress File adaptation.

Based on Len Deighton’s classic espionage novel, the new “high octane” six-part thriller began filming in Liverpool, England and Croatia this spring.

Joe Cole from Peaky Blinders is leading the cast as Harry Palmer, alongside Lucy Boynton (Bohemian Rhapsody), and Tom Hollander (The Night Manager).

The Ipcress File is being adapted by BAFTA winning writer John Hodge (Trainspotting, The Beach) and McMafia director James Watkins.

Set in Berlin and London during the 1960s, the mini-series is described as a “twist-laden spy thriller with a rich cast of characters.”

Viewers have been told to expect “a stylish and tense tale of abducted scientists, brainwashing, inter- departmental rivalry, treason, and a possibly unwise romance.”

Director and executive producer James Watkins commented: “We can’t wait to bring Len Deighton’s intoxicating web of spies – sexier than Smiley’s people, more real than Bond – to a wider television audience.

“With his sly wit and understated integrity clashing against the establishment, working-class spy Harry Palmer is more relevant than ever.”

Ruth Berry, Managing Director, Global Distribution at ITV Studios added: “We’re proud and excited to introduce this timely adaptation of Len Deighton’s best-selling novel, which has not been out of print since 1962.

“With its stellar on and off-screen talent, rich characterisation and rollercoaster of twist and turns, The Ipcress File is set to thrill the modern, global audience. Being the first in a series of books featuring the intriguing Harry Palmer, it also has potential to run and run.”

The supporting cast includes Ashley Thomas (Top Boy) as Maddox, Joshua James (Life) as Chico, David Dencik (McMafia) as Colonel Stok, and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (Dublin Murders) as Cathcart.

The official synopsis reads: “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.

“Harry’s links to the man suspected of kidnapping a missing British nuclear scientist result in him being conscripted for a dangerous undercover mission that takes him from the Beatles’ London to the Berlin Wall, from the back alleys of Beirut to the white hot sand of a Nuclear Atoll in the Pacific.”

Len Deighton’s 1962 book has sold over 10 million copies worldwide.

The story was previously turned into a hit film starring Michael Caine in 1965, followed by four sequels.

The Ipcress File will premiere later this year on ITV in the UK.

The producers are hoping the new show could be the first in a series of adaptations of Deighton’s novels.

The Ipcress File novel by Len Deighton is available on Amazon.