The Ipcress File – The DVDfever Review – ITV drama – Tom Hollander, Joe Cole

The Ipcress File
The Ipcress File is a new six-part ITV drama based on the Len Deighton novel, which became a hit 1965 movie starring the one and only Michael Caine as counter espionage agent Harry Palmer, here played in this drama by Joe Cole.

However, the movie version is one of those which escaped my attention over the years, so I come to the story afresh with this.

Starting off in West Berlin, 1963, we first see Harry delivering smuggled booze to the other side, leading to him being put in prison following being found out for profiteering from this. Meanwhile, at the Aldermaston Nuclear Research Laboratory, resulting in Professor Dawson (Matthew Steer) getting kidnapped, and leaving anyone else in the vehicle ot their own devices. It’s alleged that Dawson was planning to build a neutron bomb, so did he really go rogue and was planning to help the Soviets?

Enter Major Dalby (Tom Hollander), a government bod who has spies on his payroll, to get around the bureaucracy involved for MI5 and MI6. So, he’s basically the guy who would recruit Jack Bauer from ‘24‘ if those two worlds collided.

His latest recruit will be Palmer, and who wants information on the Russian guy he was smuggling goods to, but what’s in it for Palmer, and what does he want? Given he’s locked up, the answer is obvious. However, if he gets what he wants, he’ll still have to play by Dalby’s rules.

Meanwhile, Bohemian Rhapsody‘s Lucy Boynton also takes the role of Jean Courtney, a rare case – at the time – of a woman working in what was considered “a man’s world” at the time.

I’m trying to be vague in how the opener plays out – in terms of setting the scene but not giving anything away, since as the trailer shows, the meat of this drama will be the interplay of the three leads going forward. Hence, this first episode is a bit of a slow-burner, but it passes by pretty well, and I’ll be interested to check out more.

It also certainly has the feel of a ’60s film, the way the title is displayed, early on, along with the camera often displayed at a slight angle, feeling like a ’60s Batman episode.

UPDATE Episode 2:

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

UPDATE Episode 3:

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

UPDATE Episode 6:

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

The Ipcress File begins on ITV on Sunday March 6th at 9pm. After broadcast, the entire series will be on the ITV Hub. It can be pre-ordered on DVD, with the release date yet to be confirmed.

The Ipcress File – Official Trailer – ITV

Episode 1 Score: 7.5/10
Episode 2 Score: 6/10
Episode 3-6 Score: Zzzzz…

Director: James Watkins
Producer: Paul Ritchie
Screenplay: John Hodge
Novel: Len Deighton
Music: Tom Hodge

Harry Palmer: Joe Cole
Major Dalby: Tom Hollander
Jean Courtney: Lucy Boynton
Maddox: Ashley Thomas
Chico: Joshua James
Alice: Anastasia Hille
Colonel Stok: David Dencik
Minister: Paul Higgins
Randall: Brian Ferguson
Morris: Paul Bazely
Dr. Karen Newton: Nora-Jane Noone
Professor Dawson: Matthew Steer
General Cathcart: Tom Vaughan-Lawlor
Captain Skip Henderson: Corey Johnson
Carswell: Irfan Shamji
Frau Stuten: Anna Schumacher
Andreas Stuten: Vigo Vlajic
Rashida Boustani: Shireen Farkhoy
Deborah: Tamla Kari
Natalie Lewis: Gaby French
Housemartin: Urs Rechn
Pacific Liaison Officer: Jaz Hutchins