Benedict Cumberbatch to star in adaptation of Melrose novels

BeMelrose booksnedict Cumberbatch has landed his dream role as charismatic playboy, Patrick Melrose, the protagonist of Edward St. Aubyn’s semi-autobiographical five-novel series.

According to the BBC, Cumberbatch will be starring as the titular character in the television adaptation of the Melrose novels, commissioned by Sky Atlantic and Showtime. When asked in 2013 which role he would choose if he could play any literary character, Cumberbatch had answered: Patrick Melrose.

The Melrose series is comprised of five novels: Never Mind (1992), Bad News (1992), Some Hope (1994), Mother’s Milk (2005), and At Last (2012). According to the New York Times, the books are based on the author’s own life tackling themes such as growing up in a dysfunctional upper-class English family, dealing with loss, alcoholism, addiction, recovery, marriage, and parenthood. The official announcement describes the series as a story that “hilariously skewers the upper class as it tracks the protagonist’s harrowing odyssey from a deeply traumatic childhood through adult substance abuse, and ultimately, towards recovery.”

Mother’s Milk was previously adapted into a film in 2012, starring Jack Davenport, Adrian Dunbar, Diana Quick, and Margaret Tyzack.

The series will be written by David Nicholls (One Day) who will pen the scripts for all five episodes of the show. It will be set in several locations and time periods: the south of France in the 1960s, New York in the 1980s, and Britain in the early 2000s.

Cumberbatch will also serve as an executive producer for the series. He and production partner Adam Ackland expressed their excitement about the project:

“We are delighted to be part of this incredible series. We have been huge fans of these books for many years and David Nicholls’ adaptations are extraordinary.”

For his part, Nicholls said:

“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.”

Filming for the show is supposed to start in July. Watch this space for more news on the Melrose series.