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Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch to star as posh playboy in new drama, Melrose

Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch will play a troubled artistocratic playboy in a five-part adaptation of Edward St Aubyn's best-selling novels

Benedict Cumberbatch is to play an aristocratic playboy in a new five-part  series adapted for TV  by One Day author David Nicholls.

The 40-year-old Sherlock star will play a troubled drug addict in the new series, Melrose, based on Edward St Aubyn’s series of semi-autobiographical Patrick Melrose novels.

Benedict Cumberbatch (Anthony Devlin/PA Wire)

Benedict Cumberbatch (Anthony Devlin/PA Wire)

The new series, to be shown on Sky Atlantic will  follow Melrose  from a deeply traumatic childhood through to  adult drug addiction and ultimately, towards recovery.

It is the dream role for the Sherlock star who will also be an executive producer for the series. Asked in 2013 which role he would choose if he could play any literary character,  the actor said it would be Patrick Melrose.

The show has been commissioned by Sky Atlantic and the US’s Showtime network, and will depict the South of France in the 1960s, New York in the 1980s and Britain in the early 2000s.

Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch (Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/PA Images)

Benedict who will executive produce the show along with his production company partner Adam Ackland said, " We are delighted to be part of this incredible series.

“We have been huge fans of these books for many years and David Nicholls’s adaptations are extraordinary."

Writer David Nicholls added: “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.”

David Nicholls poses during World Book Night event at the South Bank Centre, London

David Nicholls (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Anne Mensah, head of drama for Sky, said: “Through anti-hero Patrick Melrose, we will be offering viewers a compelling window into a world of privilege, cruelty and greed – crucially both a disturbing and a funny tale."

The show will begin shooting in London, the South of France and New York in July.

Earlier this month it was announced that Benedict will also star in and executive-produce a BBC production of Ian McEwan’s novel The Child In Time.