Although conceived and produced by Harry Salzman and scored by John Barry, this is a film which deliberately positions itself miles away from the up until this time familiar James Bond espionage ethos. Palmer is a short sighted, class-ridden, form-signing petty criminal, co-opted into the spy service to avoid a year in jail.
He lives in a bedsit and wakes up with an alarm call and not a stunning sexual conquest. Unlike Bond too, he operates in an environment which is recognisable and totally believable; big echoing offices ruled by "passed over Majors", where filling out forms is as important as tedious leg work and the idea of an Aston Martin as a company car would be ridiculous.
The glamorous stereotypes of 007 have been replaced by the grinding, self-effacing reality of the civil service, with its believable day-to-day grind. In short Ipcress has roots in the contemporary wave of 60's kitchen-sink drama, and not garish Bond fantasies.