Is The Ipcress File based on a book?

THE new ITV six-part series The Ipcress File is expected to premier in late 2022.

The new spy drama starring Peaky Blinders' Joe Cole is an adaptation of Len Deighton’s 1962 novel – but won't be the first time the iconic novel has been adapted.

Is The Ipcress File based on a book?

ITV's new series The Ipcress File is based on a spy novel of the same name, published in 1962.

This was author Len Deighton's first spy novel. 

The book tells the story of an unnamed protagonist, who is an intelligence agent for a small civilian agency reporting directly to the British Cabinet.

Trying to uncover who is behind a series of high-profile kidnappings, the protagonist embarks on a dangerous mission which takes him around the world, as the Cold War rages on.

The plot involves mind control, with the acronym IPCRESS of the title standing for "Induction of Psycho-neuroses by Conditioned Reflex under Stress".

The 'IPCRESS File' is actually the protagonist's personal report to the Minister of Defence, which is also how the novel is structured.

In 1992, author Len Deighton said that the inspiration to write the novel came from his neighbour, who was a White Russian émigrée who collaborated with a cipher clerk from the American embassy to spy for Germany in World War II.

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Who is author Len Deighton?

Leonard Cyril Deighton is a prolific British author whose publications include cookery books, history and military history – but he is best known for his spy novels.

The writer is born February 18, 1929 in Marylebone, London.

His father was a mechanic and mother was a part-time cook.

When he was eleven, Deighton witnessed the arrest of Anna Wolkoff, for whom his mother cooked.

Wolkoff was detained as a Nazi spy and charged with stealing correspondence between Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt, an event which Deighton later said was "a major factor in my decision to write a spy story at my first attempt at fiction".

After completing his national service in the Royal Air Force, Deighton attended art school in London, graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1955.

He worked as a book and magazine illustrator for many years, including designing the cover for first UK edition of Jack Kerouac's 1957 work On the Road.

During an extended holiday in France, Deighton wrote his first novel, The IPCRESS File, which was a critical and commercial success.

He wrote several spy novels featuring the same central character, a working class intelligence officer.

The author said the inspiration for his character to be working-class came from his time working at a prestige London advertising agency, when he was the only member of the company's board not to have been educated at Eton.

He said: "The IPCRESS File is about spies on the surface, but it's also really about a grammar school boy among public school boys and the difficulties he faces."

What adaptations of The Ipcress File have there been?

The novel was turned into a BAFTA-award winning film adaptation in 1965, starring Michael Caine and produced by the James Bond co-producer Harry Saltzman.

In contrast with the book, the protagonist is named in the film.

The character's name, Harry Palmer, was chosen by Caine.

In the film, Harry has a long list of extra-curricular activities such as being a wholesaler, retailer, fixer, and smuggler, until the law catches up to him, resulting in eight years in a grim military prison.

To avoid prison, Harry must become a spy and his first assignment: The Ipcress File.

In December 2020, it was announced ITV will adapt The Ipcress File as a six-part TV series.

Filming began in early 2021 in Liverpool and Croatia and according to Bustle, ITV estimate a winter 2022 release date for the series.

However, first look photos of Joe Cole as Harry Palmer have been revealed, along with the rest of the cast.

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