Patrick Melrose
Official poster
Based onPatrick Melrose
by Edward St Aubyn
Written byDavid Nicholls
Directed byEdward Berger
Country of origin
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
No. of series1
No. of episodes5 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
ProducerStephen Smallwood
CinematographyJames Friend
EditorTim Murrell
Production companies
Original release
ReleaseMay 12 (2018-05-12) –
June 9, 2018 (2018-06-09)

Patrick Melrose is a drama television miniseries starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role. The show is based on a series of semi-autobiographical novels by Edward St Aubyn.[1]


Over five decades from the 1960s to the early 2000s, wealthy Englishman Patrick Melrose attempts to overcome his addictions and demons rooted in abuse by his cruel father and negligent mother.



It was announced in February 2017 that Benedict Cumberbatch would star in and produce a television adaptation of Edward St Aubyn’s Patrick Melrose book series, that would air on Showtime in the United States and Sky Atlantic in the United Kingdom. David Nicholls wrote the five episodes of the series, with Edward Berger directing.[3] In July, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Hugo Weaving joined as Patrick’s mother and father, and Anna Madeley was cast as Patrick’s wife.[4] Allison Williams and Blythe Danner joined in August 2017, with filming begun by October in Glasgow.[5][6][7]


The first trailer debuted in April 2018, and the series premiered on May 12 on Showtime.[8][9] The series consecutively streamed new episodes on CraveTV in Canada.[10] It was shown on Sky Atlantic in the UK, and Sky Vision handled international sales of the series.[11]


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.S. viewers
1"Bad News"Edward BergerDavid NichollsMay 12, 2018 (2018-05-12)0.219[12][13]
In 1982, Englishman Patrick Melrose is dispatched to New York City to retrieve the ashes of his estranged father David. During his time in New York, Patrick decides to quit his longtime addiction but finds himself unable to do so as he recollects memories of his father's abuse and encounters many of David’s associates. Patrick resorts to using heroin, alcohol, and other drugs before he finally breaks down with a botched suicide attempt. Patrick places a call to his friend Johnny telling him he wishes to finally give up and go through with a withdrawal.
2"Never Mind"Edward BergerDavid NichollsMay 19, 2018 (2018-05-19)0.186[14][13]
While going through withdrawal, Patrick recalls a traumatic day in 1967 he experienced as a young boy while on holiday in France with his parents. David is manipulative and cruel while his mother Eleanor, an alcoholic, shows signs of neglect towards Patrick and is terrified of her husband's behavior. It is revealed through a series of flashbacks that Patrick was sexually assaulted by his father while his mother was away.
3"Some Hope"Edward BergerDavid NichollsMay 26, 2018 (2018-05-26)0.236[15][13]
It's 1990 and Patrick has been invited to a party where Princess Margaret will be present. Patrick is trying to put his substance abuse in the past and has help from his friend Johnny who is in a therapy group. At the party, Princess Margaret behaves unpleasantly due to her social status and humiliates the French ambassador. She also dismisses the hostess' daughter from meeting her and this reminds Patrick of himself as a boy when his father wouldn't allow his mother to talk to him during dinner in France. Patrick later reveals to Johnny that he was sexually abused by his father for a number of years as a young boy. The episode ends with Patrick meeting Chilly Willy, who sold him drugs during his stay in New York, and is now leaving after playing in the band at the party.
4"Mother's Milk"Edward BergerDavid NichollsJune 2, 2018 (2018-06-02)0.264[16][13]
In 2003, Patrick is now fully sober and has become a lawyer. He brings his wife Mary and two children to South France where they visit his gravely ill mother, who has suffered a stroke. Eleanor has been taken in by a shady guru named Seamus, who has convinced her to sign the deed to the house over to the "foundation" which he leads. Being disinherited conjures up Patrick's buried resentment toward his mother, causing him to begin drinking and using prescription drugs again. His marriage to Mary is also in trouble, which he makes worse by engaging in an affair with his old girlfriend Julia when she visits. Patrick comes to terms with the loss of his childhood home and gives his blessing to his mother's plans, offering to arrange for her to be brought to London. Before leaving, Patrick is asked a favour by his ailing mother. Thereafter Patrick brings his family to Connecticut to see his snobbish aunt Nancy, where his drinking spirals out of control. After an angry confrontation with Nancy, Mary confronts Patrick and gives him an ultimatum: sober up or leave.
5"At Last"Edward BergerDavid NichollsJune 9, 2018 (2018-06-09)0.197[17][13]
By 2005, Eleanor has died and Patrick presides over her funeral. There are flashbacks of Patrick's life over the past two years, in which his drinking problem continued unabated after separating from Mary and his children. Eventually he returns to a rehab center, and after initially resisting the process and even escaping, he returned to focus on his recovery. His mother, bedridden in a London nursing home, insisted on being euthanised, so Patrick petitioned the British government to allow her to be brought to Switzerland. After gaining approval, Eleanor changes her mind at the last minute. There is also a flashback to years earlier, when Mary and Patrick realize that his father was a child molester, and Patrick for the first time confronts his mother about the abuse; Eleanor claims to have suffered domestic violence at the hands of David. In the present day, Eleanor's funeral and wake turn into a bizarre show as old faces converge. Patrick struggles to reconcile the positive portrait of Eleanor which others knew to his own experience of her as a neglectful mother.


Critical response

The series was praised for Cumberbatch's performance. It currently has a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and a score of 80/100 on Metacritic. In 2019, the series was ranked 51st on The Guardian newspaper's list of the 100 best TV shows of the 21st century.[18]

US ratings

Viewership and ratings per episode of Patrick Melrose
No. Title Air date Rating
1 "Bad News" May 12, 2018 0.03[12][13] 0.219
2 "Never Mind" May 19, 2018 0.03[14][13] 0.186
3 "Some Hope" May 26, 2018 0.04[15][13] 0.236
4 "Mother's Milk" June 2, 2018 0.04[16][13] 0.264
5 "At Last" June 9, 2018 0.03[17][13] 0.197


Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
British Screenwriters' Awards Best British TV Drama Writing David Nicholls Won [19]
British Society of Cinematographers Best Cinematography in a Television Drama James Friend (for "Bad News") Won [20]
Operators Award – Television Drama Daniel Bishop Nominated [21]
International Online Cinema Awards Best Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie Benedict Cumberbatch Nominated
National Film and Television Awards Best Actor Nominated
Online Film & Television Association Awards Best Limited Series Nominated [22]
Best Actor in a Motion Picture or Limited Series Benedict Cumberbatch Runner-up
Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture or Limited Series Jennifer Jason Leigh Nominated
Best Direction of a Motion Picture or Limited Series Nominated
Best Writing of a Motion Picture or Limited Series Nominated
Best Ensemble in a Motion Picture or Limited Series Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Limited Series Rachael Horovitz, Michael Jackson,
Adam Ackland, Benedict Cumberbatch,
Helen Flint, and Stephen Smallwood
Nominated [23]
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Benedict Cumberbatch Nominated
Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special Edward Berger Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special David Nicholls Nominated
Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Casting for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Nina Gold and Martin Ware Nominated
Television Critics Association Awards Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials Nominated [25]
World Soundtrack Awards Television Composer of the Year Hauschka Nominated [26]
American Society of Cinematographers Awards Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Motion Picture,
Miniseries, or Pilot Made for Television
James Friend (for "Bad News") Won [27]
Artios Awards Outstanding Achievement in Casting – Limited Series Nina Gold Nominated [28]
British Academy Television Awards Best Mini-Series Michael Jackson, Rachael Horovitz,
Edward Berger, and David Nicholls
Won [29]
Best Leading Actor Benedict Cumberbatch Won
British Academy Television Craft Awards Best Writer – Fiction David Nicholls Won [30]
Best Original Music Hauschka Nominated
Best Production Design Tom Burton Won
Photography & Lighting – Fiction James Friend Nominated
Broadcast Awards Best Drama Series or Serial Nominated [31]
Broadcasting Press Guild Awards Best Single Drama Nominated [32]
Best Actor Benedict Cumberbatch Nominated
Best Writer David Nicholls Nominated
Best of Multichannel Nominated
Camerimage First Look Award James Friend Won
Golden Globe Awards Best Actor in a Limited Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television Benedict Cumberbatch Nominated [34]
Golden Reel Awards Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing –
Sound Effects and Foley for Episodic Long Form Broadcast Media
Tony Gibson, Glen Gathard, Lewis Todd,
Lilly Blazewicz, Peter Burgis, Zoe Freed, and
Jason Swanscott (for "Bad News")
Nominated [35]
Music + Sound Awards Best Sound Design – Television Programme Tony Gibson, Filipa Príncipe, Claire Ellis,
Lewis Todd, Louisa Kearns, Stephen Smallwood,
Nigel Squibbs, Jason Swanscott, Zoe Freed, and
Peter Burgis
Won [36]
Royal Television Society Awards Best Writer – Drama David Nicholls Nominated [37]
Royal Television Society Craft & Design Awards Best Sound – Drama Nigel Squibbs, John Mooney, Filipa Principe, and
Tony Gibson
Nominated [38]
Satellite Awards Best Miniseries & Limited Series Nominated [39]
Best Actor in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television Benedict Cumberbatch Nominated
Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or a Motion Picture
Made for Television
Hugo Weaving Won
Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries or a Motion Picture
Made for Television
Jennifer Jason Leigh Nominated
USC Scripter Awards Television David Nicholls;
Based on the series of novels by Edward St Aubyn
Nominated [40]
IMAGO International Awards Best Cinematography in TV Drama James Friend (for "Bad News") Won [41]


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