Cole, 32, is taking on the role of Harry Palmer, first made famous by Caine in the 1965 film of the same name, for a new adaptation of the 1962 Len Deighton novel coming soon to ITV.
Written by acclaimed screenwriter John Hodge (Shallow Grave/Trainspotting), The Ipcress File will be a six-part series, set in the 1960s, and directed by Emmy award-winner James Watkins (McMafia, Black Mirror, The Woman In Black).
It tells the story of harry Palmer, an entrepreneurial army sergeant in post-war Berlin, who gets drawn into a life of espionage when the law catches up with his life of crime. He's given the chance to turn his life around by the secret service, with the Ipcress File his first job as a spook.
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Lucy Boynton (Bohemian Rhapsody) also stars alongside Tom Hollander as Major Dalby, Harry's handler.
Talking about the show, Hodge said: “This is a wonderful opportunity to inhabit a time when the post war world was morphing into the way we live now, when social mobility, civil rights, and modern feminism were forcing their way into public consciousness, and all of it happening with the world divided in two and both halves threatening to blow the whole thing sky high.”
ITV’s Head of Drama Polly Hill commissioned the series from Altitude and will oversee the drama from the channel’s perspective.
“I'm thrilled to be bringing John Hodge’s brilliant adaptation of such an iconic novel to ITV," commented Hill.
"Harry Palmer is an incredible part and this would have been impossible without the right actor, so we are all delighted that Joe Cole will take on the role. The talent on and off screen means this will be a treat for audiences when it comes to ITV.”
The original film, from James Bond co-producer Harry Saltzman, was a minor hit upon release and was praised for being "anti-007" in its unglamorous depiction of the world of espionage. It yielded two sequels: Funeral in Berlin (1966) and Billion Dollar Brain (1967), and Caine also returned as Palmer decades later in Bullet to Beijing (1995) and Midnight in Saint Petersburg (1996).
Saltzman's children Hilary and Steven Saltzman are executive producing this new adaptation, which also stars Ashley Thomas (NYPD Blue, Top Boy, Salvation) as Maddox, Joshua James as Chico (Industry, Life, Absentia), David Dencik (McMafia, Face to Face, Chernobyl) as Colonel Stok and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (Dublin Murders, Avengers: Endgame, Avengers: Infinity War) as Cathcart.
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