“The show is rich in character and traverses time and place – it’s the UK equivalent of The Catcher In The Rye”
Distributor Sky Vision
Producers Two Cities Television; Sunny March
Length 5 x 60 minutes
Broadcasters Sky Atlantic (UK); Showtime (US)
Alex Graham and Michael Jackson’s BBC Worldwide-backed indie Two Cities Television has scored its debut order with US cable channel Showtime and pay-TV broadcaster Sky Atlantic’s five-part drama Patrick Melrose.
Based on British author Edward St Aubyn’s series of five novels, the drama stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the dysfunctional, upper-class title character, who suffers from a deeply traumatic childhood, alcoholism and heroin addiction, before recovery and marriage.
The series is set in the south of France in the 1960s, New York in the 1980s and Britain in the early 2000s, with each episode based on one of the novels.
Cumberbatch’s Studiocanal-backed indie Sunny March is producing the show alongside Two Cities – a pairing that came about after the actor tweeted enthusiastically about the Melrose character being on his acting “bucket list”.
Speaking at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour in January, Cumberbatch said the source material was “the most extraordinary prose”.
“At its heart, the subject matter took a world I thought I knew and turned it on its head through the perspective of this unique character who suffers so much and goes on an extraordinary journey – from victim to survivor to champion of his circumstance – via the most richly comic, scalpel-like post-mortem of a crumbling class system.”
Speaking at the INTV Conference in Jerusalem last month, Showtime boss David Nevins explained that the show is “really rich in character and traverses a lot of time and place”. He said that the novels are “the UK’s equivalent of The Catcher In The Rye”.
The drama, which is set to launch on Showtime on 12 May, plays into the channel’s strategy of expanding its original scripted offerings on Saturday nights.
Meanwhile, Sky Atlantic will debut the drama at 2am on 13 May – a few hours after the US broadcaster.