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AMC+ announced today its acquisition of The Ipcress File, the six-part British espionage thriller starring Joe Cole, from ITV Studios.

The Ipcress File
The Ipcress File: Joe Cole as Harry Palmer — Photo Credit: Ben Blackal / Mikola Preovic / AMC / ITV

Based on the globally-renowned novel by Len Deighton, and adapted by Oscar®-nominated and BAFTA Award-winning screenwriter John Hodge (Trainspotting, T2 Trainspotting), The Ipcress File stars Joe Cole (Gangs of London, Peaky Blinders) as iconic British spy Harry Palmer, alongside Lucy Boynton (Bohemian Rhapsody, Murder on the Orient Express) and BAFTA Award winner Tom Hollander (The Night Manager, Birdbox).

The Ipcress File, a production of Altitude Television in association with ITV Studios, which is the international distributor for the series, will make its exclusive US and Canadian premieres as an AMC+ Original in Spring 2022.

Directed by Emmy® winner James Watkins (McMafia, Black Mirror, The Woman in Black) and set in Berlin and London during the 1960s, the twist-laden spy thriller offers a stylish and tense tale of abducted scientists, brainwashing, inter-departmental rivalry, treason, and a possibly unwise romance.

It’s 1963. The Cold War is raging between West and East. Nuclear bombers are permanently airborne. It is in this highly-charged atmosphere that 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 with him and it all grinds to a halt.

Harry finds himself sentenced to eight years in a grim military jail in England, all of 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’s London to the Berlin Wall, from the back alleys of Beirut to the white hot sand of a nuclear atoll in the Pacific.

Said Courtney Thomasma, General Manager for AMC+:

“Set in the fascinating world of Berlin in the 1960s, The Ipcress File continues AMC’s legacy of curating captivating, critically-acclaimed international thrillers, from The Little Drummer Girl and McMafia to AMC+ exclusives Spy City and Kin. AMC+ is proud to partner with ITV Studios to bring John Hodge’s thrilling adaptation of the beloved spy novel to U.S. audiences. We are also excited to work with Joe Cole again, following the enormous popularity of Gangs of London, this time in his new spellbinding performance of the iconic, working-class British spy.”

Greg Johnson, Executive Vice-President, Distribution, Americas at ITV Studios, stated:

“With its stellar on and off-screen talent, rich characterisation and roller coaster of twists and turns, there is no better home for The Ipcress File than AMC+, and I’m delighted that US and Canadian viewers will join audiences across the globe in enjoying the very cool spy Harry Palmer through this new adaptation.”

And Will Clarke, Executive Producer and CEO of Altitude Television, commented:

“We’re immensely proud of what we have created with The Ipcress File and alongside AMC+, we are very excited on the potential of the series. We are thrilled that they will be bringing the daring exploits of Harry Palmer to American audiences next year.”

The Ipcress File was Len Deighton’s first spy novel introducing the iconic British spy Harry Palmer and set against the backdrop of Cold War Europe. Since it was first published in 1962, the novel has sold 10 million copies worldwide. It was first adapted for the screen in 1965 as a feature film starring Michael Caine, which went on to win three BAFTA Awards.

The six-part limited series will be executive produced by Will Clarke (Filth) and Andy Mayson (Ghost Stories) for Altitude Television, Andrew Eaton (The Crown) for Turbine, Sandy Lieberson (Performance), James Watkins, and Hilary and Steven Saltzman. It will be produced by Paul Ritchie (McMafia, Slumdog Millionaire). AMC Networks’ Kristin Jones, EVP of International Programming, and Noel Manzano, VP of International Programming, are overseeing the series for AMC+.


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The Ipcress File: AMC+ Picks Up British Spy Thriller Starring Joe Cole
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