“The Ipcress File,” a spy series based on the popular Len Deighton novel, has kicked off filming in Liverpool in northern England and Croatia, with a stellar cast including Joe Cole (“Gangs of London”), Lucy Boynton (“Bohemian Rhapsody”) and Tom Hollander (“The Night Manager”). The series is being produced by Altitude Television for ITV.

Oscar-nominated and BAFTA-winning writer John Hodge (“Transpotting”) adapted the novel, which is the first of the iconic British spy Harry Palmer series set against the backdrop of Cold War Europe. The novel has sold 10 million copies worldwide since it was first published in 1962.

James Watkins (“Black Mirror”) is directing the six-part TV show with a cast that also includes Ashley Thomas (“Covenant”), Joshua James (“Absentia”), David Dencik (“Chernobyl”) and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (“Dublin Murders”).

“The Ipcress File” is an espionage thriller set in Berlin and London during the 1960s. The show marks the first major production for Altitude Television, which is part of Altitude Film Entertainment, the independent British media firm behind “Amy” and “Moonlight.” The series is being produced in association with ITV Studios.

Executive producers include 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. The series will be produced by Paul Ritchie (“McMafia,” “Slumdog Millionaire”).

Along with ITV Studios, the other co-financiers of the series include the Liverpool Film Office, Lipsync, Filmgate and the Finnish National and Regional Funds, with Cofiloisirs Bank cashflowing.

“I’m thrilled to be bringing John Hodge’s brilliant adaptation of such an iconic novel to ITV. 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,” said ITV’s head of drama Polly Hill.

Watkins, who is directing each of the six episodes, said he “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.”

Hodge, meanwhile, said the series represented 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.”

Ruth Berry, managing director of global distribution at ITV Studios, said that “with its stellar on and off-screen talent, rich characterization and rollercoaster of twist and turns, ‘The Ipcress File’ is set to thrill the modern, global audience.”

ITV Studios is representing the series in international markets.

See the first photos from the show below:

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ITV Studios
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ITV Studios, Altitude Film Entertainment
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