About the Original

PATRICK MELROSE

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.


SERIES OVERVIEW

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.

 

SYNOPSES

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 -

SOME HOPE 

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?’ 

 

CAST

 

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

 

PRODUCTION

 

Directed by Edward Berger

Screenplay by David Nicholls

Based on the novels by Edward St Aubyn

Executive Producers

-Rachael Horovitz

-Michael Jackson

-Adam Ackland

-Benedict Cumberbatch

-Helen Flint

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

Editors

-Tim Murrell

-Dan Roberts

-Luke Dunkley

Composer Hauschka

Casting Director Nina Gold

Co-Producer Claudine Sturdy

Music Supervisor Liz Gallacher

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Press:

Nicole Elice
310-234-5218
nicole.elice@showtime.net

Jackie Ioachim
212-708-1220
jackie.ioachim@showtime.net