Photo: Justin Downing/SHOWTIME
Premieres Saturday, May 12 at 9 PM ET/PT on Showtime
Based on the acclaimed series of semi-autobiographical novels written by Edward St Aubyn, this five-part limited series is an acerbic and fearless look at the protagonist’s harrowing odyssey from a deeply traumatic childhood to his remarkable survival as an adult. In a tour de force role, Benedict Cumberbatch plays the titular character who struggles to overcome the damage inflicted by a horribly abusive father and the mother who tacitly condoned his behavior.
Academy Award® nominee Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight) and Screen Actors Guild® winner Hugo Weaving (The Matrix trilogy) also star as the parents of Patrick Melrose. Rounding out this accomplished cast are Anna Madeley (The Crown), Blythe Danner (Meet The Fockers), Allison Williams (Girls), Pip Torrens (The Crown), Jessica Raine (Call The Midwife), Prasanna Puwanarajah (Doctor Foster), Holliday Grainger (Bonnie & Clyde), Indira Varma (Game Of Thrones) and Celia Imrie (Bridget Jones’s Baby). Each episode, devoted to one of the five novels, is written for television by BAFTA Award® nominee David Nicholls (Far From The Madding Crowd, One Day) and directed by celebrated film director Edward Berger (Deutschland 83, Jack). A co-production between SHOWTIME and Sky Atlantic, this gripping and humorous saga spans the South of France in the 1960s, New York in the 1980s and Britain in the early 2000s.
A note from Benedict Cumberbatch – “I’ve only ever had two roles on my acting bucket list: Patrick Melrose and Hamlet. Patrick is a character desperate to distance himself from his terrible childhood and as a result is, psychologically, all over the place. He’s addicted to drugs and near suicidal, but also incredibly funny and brilliant. At the heart of the subject matter was something that I thought angled a world that I thought I knew, and turned it on its head through the perspective of this really unique character who suffers so much and goes on this extraordinary journey from victimhood to survivor, and a champion of his circumstance in a way. And via the most richly comic, scalpel-like postmortem upper-class system that’s crumbling, a power related to that that dissolves as the stories continue. It’s an extraordinary stretch of one man’s life. And the appeal of the character through those shifts from an innocent child, to a terrified, self-destructive 20-year-old to a sober 30-something to a husband and father – what a great canvas to play with. The books already have a passionate following, so creating an adaptation that would live up to expectations was a daunting task, but we’re all such fans of the material I think and hope we’ve crafted something that will thrill existing fans, win a host of new ones, and, like the books, stand the test of time.”