A 5-PART LIMITED SERIES
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.
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.
PATRICK MELROSE is executive produced by Michael Jackson and Oscar® nominee and Emmy® and Golden Globe® winning producer Rachael Horovitz (Moneyball, Grey Gardens). Jackson, the former Channel Four and IAC executive, recently formed the drama banner Two Cities Television. It will be the company’s first production. Cumberbatch will executive produce along with Adam Ackland for SunnyMarch. Helen Flint serves as executive producer for Little Island Productions.
Episode 1 -
BAD NEWS 1982
In the grip of several addictions (drugs, sex, alcohol), Patrick Melrose is forced to fly to New York to collect his father’s ashes. Over the course of a lost Manhattan weekend, Patrick’s remorseless search for satisfaction, haunted by old acquaintances and insistent inner voices, sends him into a nightmarish spiral including a disastrous date with the girl of his dreams, Marianne Banks (Alison Williams). Alone in his room at the Drake Hotel that night, he pushes body and mind to the very edge – desperate always to stay one step ahead of his rapidly encroaching past.
Episode 2 -
NEVER MIND 1967
At the family’s glorious house in the South of France, young Patrick (Sebastian Maltz) has the run of the magical grounds. His father David (Hugo Weaving) rules with considered cruelty and his mother Eleanor (Jennifer Jason Leigh) has retreated into self medication and booze. Bravely imaginative and self-sufficient out of necessity, 9-year-old Patrick encounters the volatile lives of adults with fear. They are expecting guests for the weekend, but this afternoon is profoundly unlike the chain of summer days before and the shocking events that precede the guests’ arrival tear Patrick’s world in two.
Episode 3 -
Patrick Melrose, cleaned-up but world-weary, reluctantly agrees to go to his first big social event since recovering. Together with his good friend and fellow former addict Johnny Hall (Prasanna Puwanarajah), he attends a glittering party in the English countryside hosted by former hippie Bridget (Holliday Grainger) -- now married, titled and miserable -- and attended by Princess Margaret (Harriet Walter) as well as a number of Patrick's old flames. Amid a crowd of social dragonflies, Patrick searches for redemption and capacity for forgiveness while challenged by his observation of the cruelties around him. Armed with his biting wit and a newly fashioned openness, Patrick confronts his past in a myriad of ways and emerges a new man.
Episode 4 -
MOTHER'S MILK -- 2003
Patrick, now married to Mary (Anna Madeley), is spending the summer at his old family home with his wife and two young sons. Eleanor (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is herself now sober and entangled with a New Age foundation who are also present for the summer. After announcing her plan to give the house to them and not to Patrick, he quickly falls off the wagon and returns to the self-destructive behavior he has always felt most comfortable with. Infidelity and anger follow with irony a constant presence. By episode’s end, Patrick becomes more than Mary can bear and the fate of their marriage is in serious question.
Episode 5 -
The series finale, set on the day of his mother’s memorial service, finds Patrick now truly clean and sober. His story comes full circle as Patrick confronts the past with his singular wit in a moving effort to both solve the puzzle of his mother’s complicity in his father’s abuse and answer his father’s question ‘What will you do with your life?’
Benedict Cumberbatch PATRICK MELROSE
Jennifer Jason Leigh ELEANOR MELROSE
Hugo Weaving DAVID MELROSE
Philip Arditti PIERRE
Gary Beadle CHILLY WILLY
Elizabeth Berrington FLEUR
Morfydd Clark DEBBIE HICKMAN
Nancy Crane NANCY BANKS
Blythe Danner NANCY VALENCE
Julian Firth TONY FOWLES
James Fleet SIR VICTOR EISEN
Hippolyte Girardot JACQUES D’ALATOUR
Holliday Grainger BRIDGET WATSON-SCOTT
Celia Imrie KETTLE
Irène Jacob JACQUELINE D’ALATOUR
Anna Madeley MARY MELROSE
Oengus MacNamara BELLBOY
Georgia Maguire AMANDA PRATT
Sebastian Maltz YOUNG PATRICK
Tim McMullan SONNY GRAVESEND
Jonjo O’Neill SEAMUS DOURKE
Prasanna Puwanarajah JOHNNY
Jessica Raine JULIA
Amanda Root VIRGINIA WATSON-SCOTT
Marcus Smith ROBERT MELROSE
John Standing GEORGE WATFORD
Pip Torrens NICHOLAS PRATT
Indira Varma ANNE MOORE
Eileen Walsh ANNETTE
Allison Williams MARIANNE BANKS
Eben Young JERRY BANKS
Harriet Walter PRINCESS MARGARET
Directed by Edward Berger
Screenplay by David Nicholls
Based on the novels by Edward St Aubyn
Producer Stephen Smallwood
Director of Photography James Friend BSC
Production Designer Tom Burton
Costume Designer Keith Madden
Hair and Make-Up Designer Karen Hartley-Thomas
Sound Recordist John Mooney
Casting Director Nina Gold
Co-Producer Claudine Sturdy
Music Supervisor Liz Gallacher