‘Patrick Melrose’ Star Benedict Cumberbatch Praises ‘Extraordinary Prose’ of Source Novels

Benedict Cumberbatch explained what drew him to the title role of the upcoming Showtime limited series “Patrick Melrose” during the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Saturday.

“They are the most extraordinary prose,” Cumberbatch said via satellite. “[Edward St. Aubyn is] one of the most, if not the most, extraordinary modern prose stylists working in the English language.”

“At its heart the subject matter took something–a world 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,” he continued. “From victim to survivor to champion of his circumstance in a way and via the most richly comic, scalpel-like post-mortem of a class system that is crumbling and the power related to that dissolves as the stories continue.”

Set to debut later this year, the series is based on the acclaimed Patrick Melrose series of semi-autobiographical novels written by St. Aubyn. This five-part limited series tracks the protagonist’s journey from a deeply traumatic childhood through adult substance abuse and, ultimately, toward recovery.

The series also stars Jennifer Jason Leigh, Hugo Weaving, Anna Madeley, Blythe Danner, Allison Williams, Pip Torrens, Jessica Raine, Prasanna Puwanarajah, Holliday Grainger, Indira Varma, and Celia Imrie. Each episode, devoted to one of the five novels, is written for television by David Nicholls and directed by Edward Berger. Michael Jackson, Rachael Horovitz, Cumberbatch, Adam Ackland, and Helen Flint will executive produce.

The series is a co-production between Showtime and Sky Atlantic.

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