Thursday 3 March 2022

The Ipcress File TV series premiering 6 March

This Sunday in the UK - and in many of the international TV markets to which the rights have been sold - the new adaptation of The Ipcress File by ITV will be seen for the first time.

This week has seen a lot of the weekly TV listings guides in the UK publish feature articles about the series, focusing on the lead actors - Joe Cole as Harry Palmer, and Lucy Boynton as Jean Courtenay (Jean Tonneson in the book) - as well as providing some background on the book.

Much of the advanced publicity around the book has, not unsurprisingly, focused on comparisons between the new series and the original 1965 movie starring Michael Caine. Interestingly, all the signs are from the producers and the actors that while there are the odd 'tributes' to the original movie, this TV series will be different.

One advantage for the TV series of course is a bigger budget, allowing the producers to film more of the overseas scenes in the book (such as in the Pacific Atoll where a nuclear bomb test is due to take place) which the original film budget didn't stretch to.

Below are some examples of the articles giving the background to the series and interviews with the actors.


  1. In the US, the new "Ipcress File" will be shown on AMC+, but I don't see a premiere date yet, just vague statements that it will be "this spring".

    1. I am not surprised. I lived in the US during the height of the Cold War in early 1970s, focused on the divided Berlin.
      Despite the dynamics and machinations involved , contributed by the Soviet Union and Western allies, there were very little news and discussions in the media in the US then. The Watergate Saga, and the Vietnam War which was going badly wrong were the points of discussion. I had to get in touch with friends in Britain to know more about the Cold War situation and the news about the Berlin Wall.
      The morale in the US, as a nation was very low. That was the reason, escapist series like Hawaii five O, Happy Days and Mary Tyler Moore were filling the TV screen as distractions. The US had then a black and white views of the Cold War anyway, with no shades of grey.

  2. Because of a number of reasons, I usually watch the streamed version in my laptop. where I can go back and forth, re-watch again etc..
    I watched the first episode, but cannot help comparing the name Joe Cole, the main actor with the namesake the Chelsea footballer I used to hear about in commentaries during Chelsea games from 2003. That was when Roman Abramovich -despised these days because of the Ukraine war, bought the FC, and made it a great success-polar opposite in ethos of the Arsenal FC- the FC I am have been also interested to listen to their games, at a distance, and the American owner of equal wealth whose ownership reeks with defeatism.
    Joe Cole, the actor is fine, but not the Harry Palmer-Michael Caine, even with similar glasses. Michael Caine, has a way of blending with the character with a degree that makes the viewer see the character and not the actor. This I find missing in Joe Cole. This may be my prejudicial view having watched Harry Palmer in 1965; like comparing Sean Connery in 1962 Dr NO with say Daniel Craig in 2006.
    Good for Steven Saltzman to get involved as the co-producer; sadly his sister Hilary Saltzman is no more.
    I would have to wait to see whether not filming in the real location: Berlin is a handicap. Years ago, I watched a BBC series called 'Secret Army' set in Brussels, but filmed in England locations. It did not look alright, as I ad been to Brussels many times by then. Filming there would have been more authentic. Some viewers have complained about the camera angle, and the style of photography. I do not see this as as a problem.
    I say, give the series a good chance.

  3. Just to add to my previous post: The actors look very comfortable in their roles. The Evening Standard has produced an excellent review, very positive, which I fully agree with.

  4. I would say with the Ukraine conflict continuing, and the emergence of a new kind of cold war, this time encompassing the EU countries, Britain and US with Australia and New Zealand joining in as active allies against Russia ( There is China, with Taiwan fearing invasion), and with Britain leading the opposition today against Russia, there is a very good opportunity to create another TV series involving Bernard Samson in some way, with a global role encompassing all the above allied countries. Steven Saltzman should think about this.

    1. Well, if Clerkenwell Films pulled their finger out, we'd have had a TV series of all nine Samson novels by now.

    2. Clerkenwell Films, were not the appropriate producers anyway. I do not trust any company located in Clerkenwell area to succeed in any venture. A few decades ago, another Clerkenwell company focusing on computer software developed a computer programming language platform for personal computers as a teaching tool to impart programming skills, and sold the product to universities for the first year computer science course. There was an excellent opportunity for this company to become the market leader in this fast developing area of teaching computer programming skills-the skills in great demand then (even now) in vastly expanding service sector, and in quite a few manufacturing companies too. There was a very good opportunity for this Clerkenwell company to market a affordable version of the above platform to individual customers too, who were interested in reskilling. The typical British companies' attitude that expected success without effort, just believing that the product will sell by itself, the thinking that killed off highly successful products-both in automobile and electronics areas for example decades ago ,ensured that this Clerkenwell computer software company hit the dust too.
      Both streaming and live-watching of movies and programmes are a big business, very profitable now.
      With the new Ipcress File TV series becoming a sure success, and the Europe-wide Cold War situation developing now means new opportunities for TV series. It need not be ITV channel. Channel5 is looking for a new soap when the current soap Neighbours comes to an end this Summer. They are looking for a series to fill the 30 minutes slot-noon and evening. It is a good timing to sell Channel5 the idea of a younger Bernard Samson series. Fremantle, currently the producers of the Neighbours soap, could be approached as they have Australia presence too.. It needs someone to sell this idea. The younger viewers will be interested ,now, given their awareness of the Ukrainian situation. Has the potential for Europe-wide audience.