Benedict Cumberbatch to star as playboy in TV adaptation of Melrose novels

Benedict Cumberbatch will play an aristocratic playboy in a new five-part TV series written by One Day author David Nicholls.

The Sherlock star will also executive-produce Melrose, based on Edward St Aubyn’s series of semi-autobiographical Patrick Melrose novels.

David will write all five episodes of the series, which will follow Cumberbatch’s Melrose on a harrowing odyssey from a deeply traumatic childhood through adult substance abuse, and ultimately, towards recovery.

Asked in 2013 which role he would choose if he could play any literary character ever, Benedict said in a Reddit Q&A that it would be Patrick Melrose.

The show has been commissioned by Sky Atlantic and the US’s Showtime network, and will depict the South of France in the 1960s, New York in the 1980s and Britain in the early 2000s.

Melrose will devote an hour to each of the five novels, with an episode set over the course of a few intense days in the life of the protagonist.

Benedict will serve as an executive producer through his SunnyMarch production company and he and his partner Adam Ackland said: “We are delighted to be part of this incredible series.

“We have been huge fans of these books for many years and David Nicholls’s adaptations are extraordinary.”

David added: “I’ve been a huge admirer of Edward St Aubyn’s novels for years and can’t wait to bring these dark, witty, brilliant books to the screen. Benedict is the perfect Patrick Melrose.”

Anne Mensah, head of drama for Sky, said: “Bravery and distinction are core to all original drama on Sky Atlantic.

“Through anti-hero Patrick Melrose, we will be offering viewers a compelling window into a world of privilege, cruelty and greed – crucially both a disturbing and a funny tale.

“We are so excited to welcome this amazing story and a huge thank you to Benedict, David and the whole team.”

The show will begin shooting in London, the South of France and New York in July.

Earlier this month it was announced that Benedict will also star in and executive-produce a BBC production of Ian McEwan’s novel The Child In Time.

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