Viewers react as Joe Cole takes on Michael Caine’s role in ITV’s The Ipcress File

Virgin Radio

7 Mar 2022, 08:28

Credit: Rex

Credit: Rex

As the final season of Peaky Blinders continued to play out on the BBC on Sunday night, one of its former stars was appearing in a new ITV drama. 

The television adaptation of The Ipcress File, based on Len Deighton's 1962 spy novel, saw Joe Cole play Harry Palmer, in a role that was made famous by Michael Caine in the 1965 film. 

The first episode of the spy thriller premiered on Sunday night (6th March) and saw British army sergeant Harry Palmer (played by Cole) doing time in military prison, due to his dealings with some unscrupulous people in post-Cold War Berlin. In the opening episode of the stylish thriller, he was offered the chance to work for British intelligence rather than serving his prison sentence.

Alongside Cole in the series is Pride & Prejudice actor Tom Hollander and Lucy Boynton from Bohemian Rhapsody.

If anyone was nervous about Joe Cole taking on a role that is so intrinsically linked to Michael Caine, they needn’t have worried. When the actor joined the Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky last week to discuss the show, he explained that he intended put his own mark on the character. “I did watch the original [film], once I’d got the role, and then realised very quickly that’s probably not the best thing to do and actually, by osmosis, Michael Caine’s performance starts seeping into you. So, it was very much a case of switching that off and doing our own thing with it,” he said.

And Cole's performance in episode one was a hit on social media.

One person wrote: “Really stylish and well polished. Lucy Boynton is cool but confident. Joe Cole is fab in the Palmer role. I was worried he’d be playing it as Michael Caine playing Palmer but he’s not.”

Someone else added: “Well, I’m loving this. Joe Cole isn’t trying to be Michael Caine and I’m loving this version of Harry, too."

A viewer said: “Being a massive fan of Michael Caine’s portrayal on the 1965 film I was pleasantly surprised by Joe Cole’s interpretation of the role…a homage yes but a copycat no. Rest of cast and new music good too but it’s up against Peaky Blinders!”

Another person said: “Joe Cole supremely cast as #HarryPalmer made the role his own with a few nods to Michael Caine & Tom Hollander is brilliant as always & looks like @ITV gave it a healthy budget its filmed beautifully.”

Someone else wrote: “I was quite prepared not to like this as a huge fan of the original film….but dammit, it really is excellent. Enjoying Joe Cole as Harry Palmer. Just the right amount of sullen insolence.”

Another viewer added: “Really enjoying on ITV - it’s more faithful to the book than the Caine film - which is my favourite movie of all time. I like the small nods to Caine’s portrayal - mac, specs - the hints of the John Barry theme,and the camera angles that are a homage to the movie.”

The Ipcress File continues on Sunday at 9pm on ITV.