In 1965, Michael Caine earned great recognition with his iconic role of Harry Palmer. Almost six decades later, Joe Cole reprises the character of the smuggler-turned-spy for British Intelligence in the exciting television series The Ipcress File. The new adaptation is loosely based on Len Deighton’s eponymous spy novel of 1962. Set in the peak days of the Cold War, the plot follows a rogue British army corporal, Harry Palmer, who moonlights as a smuggler taking contraband goods between East and West Berlin… until he gets caught, of course. When he’s thrown into a military prison, a branch of British Intelligence strikes a deal with Palmer to work for them as an undercover spy in exchange for his freedom. With no other option to avoid jail time, Palmer must use his skills and contacts for the mission.
The Ipcress File is written by John Hodge (Trainspotting) and directed by James Watkins (Black Mirror), both of whom also serve as executive producers, along with Alexander Deighton, Andrew Eaton, Sanford Lieberson, Andy Mayson, Hilary Saltzmanand Steven Saltzman. So, get your mind racing to follow the hunt for the titular “file” in this all-new Cold War spy thriller that seems very intriguing. Read on to find out more about the plot, release date, cast, and characters of The Ipcress File.
When Is The Ipcress File’s Release Date?
An ITV production, The Ipcress File was first released on March 6, 2022, on ITV, with weekly episodes. Now, the series is being released as an AMC+ original in the United States and Canada. The series will be available for streaming on AMC+, on and from Thursday, May 19, 2022.
How Many Episodes Does The Ipcress File Have?
The Ipcress File is a miniseries with six episodes. Each episode releases weekly only on AMC+. All episodes are written by John Hodge and directed by James Watkins.
ITV released the official trailer of The Ipcress File on Jan 24, 2022, followed by a new trailer released by AMC+ on May 6, 2022. With warm-toned scenes, retro clothing, and vintage cars, the trailer takes you back to the swinging sixties. But the only thing swinging here, is a spy’s life, in a delicate balance between his own government and its enemy. In a quick succession of scenes, the two-minute video reveals our hero – Harry Palmer. He’s not your classic British spy – primly dressed and all dapper-looking. He’s just himself, getting through his mission, reluctantly but with all his efforts.
The trailer also reveals the other major characters, particularly, Tom Hollander’s Major Dalby and Lucy Boynton’s Jean Courtney, both of whom seem quite significant to the mission and in Palmer’s life at this point. Apart from all that, the trailer is more or less what you would expect for a period spy drama thriller – gritty action, sinister conspiracies, gunshots, kidnapping, cold war era tortures, and some nuclear explosions. It’s almost like watching an original 60s production.
Who Is in the Cast of The Ipcress File?
The Ipcress File boasts an ensemble cast led by Tom Hollander (Pirates of The Caribbean), Joe Cole (Peaky Blinders), and Lucy Boynton (Bohemian Rhapsody), along with Ashley Thomas (NYPD Blue), Joshua James (Absentia), David Dencik (McMafia), Paul Higgins (Line of Duty) and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (Avengers: Endgame), in major roles.
The cast also includes Anastasia Hille, Ashley Thomas, Anna Geiserová, Corey Johnson, Nora-Jane Noone, Paul Bazely, Gaby French, Therese Bradley, Ben Llyod-Hughes, Nigel Hastings, Tamla Kariand Matthew Steeramong others.
Who Are the Confirmed Characters in The Ipcress File?
Although the premise is drawn from the original novel, the characters of the television series are influenced by the BAFTA-winning, 1965 film, for which Harry Palmer and Jean Courtney’s names were created. Check out who plays who in the all-new spy series –
Joe Cole plays Harry Palmer, recreating the iconic character that Michael Caine played in the film version and shot to fame. Harry Palmer, a corporal with the British Army, is stationed in partitioned Berlin. A working-class man with sophisticated tastes, Palmer is known for his shady side hustles. After getting caught on a smuggling gig, he is employed by the WOOC (P) (War Office Operational Communications (Provisional)) to hunt down a missing scientist. He is sharp and witty, with good “fixing” skills, and a list of dubious contacts who are useful for his mission as a spy. Joe Cole is best known for his role as John Shelby in Peaky Blinders and also starred in the recent Netflix survival drama Against the Ice.
Tom Hollander plays Major Dalby, the director of WOOC(P), a unit of British Intelligence not connected to MI5 or MI6. He and his team are on a mission to find a British nuclear scientist, who is kidnapped by the Russians. Dalby’s job is to recruit the sharpest and smartest agent. He is the one who finds out about Palmer and recruits him for the mission. Although he doesn’t trust his recruit, he is confident of his agent’s capabilities. Hollander recently starred in another spy drama, the WWI prequel to the Kingsman franchise The King’s Manwhich was released in 2021.
Lucy Boynton appears as Jean Courtney, an intelligent officer at WOOC (P), the only female field agent and one of the brightest on the team. She is also kind of a handler for Palmer and trains him for the job, to ensure that he does his part right. Lucy Boynton also recently starred in the Agatha Christie series Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?.
Joshua James plays Philip “Chico” Chillcott-Oakes. Philip is an intelligence officer and another important member of Dalby’s team at WOOC(P). He is also Jean’s colleague and friend. In other roles, there’s Anastasia Hille as Alice, a WOOC(P) intelligence officer; Ashley Thomas as Paul Maddox, a CIA intelligence officer; David Dencik as Colonel Gregor Stok, a Soviet intelligence officer; Tom Vaughan-Lawlor as US military Commander, General Cathcart; Paul Higgins as Douglas Campbell MP, Minister of Defence; Matthew Steer as Professor Dawson, a British nuclear physicist; and Tamla Kari as Deborah, Palmer’s ex-wife.
When Was The Ipcress File Filmed and When Is it Set?
The plot of The Ipcress File is set during the height of the Cold War, during the early 1960s. The original novel, by Len Deighton, was also written during that time, in 1962. For the 1965 film, the story was a current socio-political event, but for the 2022 series, The Ipcress File is regarded as a period drama thriller. The series started its production in March 2021 and ended in June 2021.
What Is the Plot of The Ipcress File?
The Ipcress File is a fictional representation of the Cold War days and the dangerous tactics used by spies and intelligence agents from different nations. Major Dalby runs the WOOC (P), a small unit of British Intelligence, which is frowned upon by both MI5 and MI6. But Dalby carries on with his job and recruits the smartest and brightest undercover agents, with Harry Palmer being his latest.
Palmer’s dodgy background gives Dalby the upper hand and he sends Palmer out on a mission where he can use his black-market contacts to find a prominent British nuclear scientist. But soon, a simple kidnapping retrieval becomes a global espionage mission with deadly weapons and dangerous parties involved, all leading to a secret dossier called the Ipcress File. Here’s how AMC describes the 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 (Cole) – 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.
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