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Meet the cast of The Ipcress File

Joe Cole, Lucy Boynton, and Tom Hollander star in ITV adaptation's of spy thriller The Ipcress File.

Published: Monday, 7th March 2022 at 5:23 pm

ITV espionage thriller The Ipcress File has finally arrived, the first major screen adaptation since the iconic film starring Michael Caine in the role of Harry Palmer.

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Set in Berlin in 1963 and based on the classic Len Deighton spy novel, the ITV version stars Peaky Blinders actor Joe Cole, who leads the cast as a British solider and smuggler-turned-spy Harry Palmer opposite the likes of Tom Hollander, Lucy Boynton, and Them star Ashley Thomas.

On why his The Ipcress File character is the anti-Bond, Joe Cole explained: "He's a detective, he's a spy, but he is very different. I think he's, you know, he doesn't have a lot of money. He's from a working-class background. He's operating in a different world with different classes. He's hyper-intelligent and he's fun, and for me, the most important thing was trying to capture that."

Director James Watkins said in a statement: "We can’t wait to bring Len Deighton’s intoxicating web of spies – sexier than Smiley’s People, more real than Bond – to a wider television audience. With his sly wit and understated integrity clashing against the establishment, working-class spy Harry Palmer is more relevant than ever.”

Read on for the cast and characters in ITV adaptation The Ipcress File.

Joe Cole plays Harry Palmer

Joe Cole in The Ipcress File
ITV

Who is Harry Palmer? A former British Army sergeant now stationed in Berlin and smuggling surplus army goods back and forth across East and West Berlin. However, it's only a matter of time before he gets caught.

Where have I seen Joe Cole before? He's best known for his lead role as Sean Wallace in Gangs of London, and for playing John Shelby in Peaky Blinders. He's also starred in Black Mirror, playing the role of Frank in the episode 'Hang the DJ', and appeared in A Prayer Before Dawn as well as British teen series Skins.

Lucy Boynton plays Jean Courtney

ALTITUDE TELEVISION FOR ITV THE IPCRESS FILE EPISODE 1 Pictured: LUCY BOYNTON as Jean Courtney. This image is under copyright and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes in your print or online publication. This image cannot be syndicated to any other third party. For further information please contact: Patrick.smith@itv.com 07909906963

Who is Jean Courtney? An upper-class young woman engaged to a tiresome fiancé, who's labouring under the impression that she's a secretary at the BBC. Instead, she's secretly a spy.

Where have I seen Lucy Boynton before? The former child actress (who played Posy Fossil in the TV movie Ballet Shoes opposite Emma Watson) has appeared in Sing Street, Gypsy, the film Murder on the Orient Express, The Politician, the Oscar-winning Bohemian Rhapsody. She's also set to star in the upcoming Why Didn't They Ask Evans?, directed by Hugh Laurie.

Tom Hollander as William Dalby

ALTITUDE FILM FOR ITV THE IPCRESS FILE JOE COLE,LUCY BOYNTON,TOM HOLLANDER AND ASHLEY THOMAS STAR. This image is under copyright and may only be used in relation to THE IPCRESS FILE.Any further use must be agreed with the ITV Picture Desk. For further information please contact: Patrick.smith@itv.com 07909906963

Who is William Dalby? A rebellious member of the British intelligence service, and the man who recruits the insolent Harry Palmer.

Where have I seen Tom Hollander before? The prolific actor is known for roles in Pride and Prejudice (as clergyman Mr Collins opposite Keira Knightley's Elizabeth), Gosford Park, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, the comedy series Rev. co-starring Olivia Colman, The Night Manager, Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, Us, Baptiste, and the upcoming second season of The White Lotus.

Ashley Thomas as Paul Maddox

ALTITUDE FILM FOR ITV THE IPCRESS FILE JOE COLE,LUCY BOYNTON,TOM HOLLANDER AND ASHLEY THOMAS STAR. This image is under copyright and may only be used in relation to THE IPCRESS FILE.Any further use must be agreed with the ITV Picture Desk. For further information please contact: Patrick.smith@itv.com 07909906963

Who is Paul Maddox? A CIA agent who establishes a flirtatious rapport with Jean Courtney.

Where have I seen Ashley Thomas before? He recently played a leading role in the TV series Them, and has starred in Top Boy, Ice, Salvation, 24: Legacy, and the upcoming adaptation of Great Expectations.

Matthew Steer plays Professor Dawson

ALTITUDE TELEVISION FOR ITV THE IPCRESS FILE EPISODE 1 Pictured: MATTHEW STEER as Dawson. This image is under copyright and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes in your print or online publication. This image cannot be syndicated to any other third party. For further information please contact: Patrick.smith@itv.com 07909906963

Who is Professor Dawson? An expert in nuclear weapons, and the reason that Harry Palmer's knowledge of Berlin's criminal underbelly becomes so valuable to Dalby.

Where have I seen Matthew Steer before? He played Blachevelle in the TV version of Les Misérables, and starred in The Crown, Cinderella, Leonardo, and After Ever After, among other projects.

Urs Rechn plays Housemartin

Who is Housemartin? A violent former contact of Harry Palmer's, living in 1960s Berlin.

Where have I seen Urs Rechn before? Born in the former GDR (East Germany), he is known for the roles in the likes of Son of Saul, Dogs of Berlin, Leipzig Homicide, Sløborn, and Barbarians.

Joshua James plays Chico

ALTITUDE TELEVISION FOR ITV THE IPCRESS FILE EPISODE 1 Pictured: JOSHUA JAMES as Chico. This image is under copyright and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes in your print or online publication. This image cannot be syndicated to any other third party. For further information please contact: Patrick.smith@itv.com 07909906963

Who is Chico? An upper-class British spy and colleague of Jean Courtney's.

Where have I seen Joshua James before? He played Liam Banner in the TV series Life; Valvert opposite Peter Dinklage in Cyrano; and Justin Klineman in Industry. He's also starred in Absentia, McMafia, and I Hate Suzie.

Paul Bazely plays Morris

ALTITUDE TELEVISION FOR ITV THE IPCRESS FILE EPISODE 2 Pictured: PAUL BAZELY as Morris. This image is under copyright and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes in your print or online publication. This image cannot be syndicated to any other third party. For further information please contact: Patrick.smith@itv.com 07909906963

Who is Morris? A scientist who worked closely with the missing Professor Dawson.

Where have I seen Paul Bazely before? He has starred in The Sister, Black Mirror, Cruella, Doctors, The Good Karma Hospital, Benidorm, and The Mallorca Files.

The Ipcress File continues on ITV on Sundays at 9pm and the full series is available to stream on ITV Hub now. Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what’s on tonight.

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