Benedict Cumberbatch stars as the high-class drug addict and alcoholic Patrick Melrose in a mini-series adaptation of the novels, which is set to air on Showtime later this year. It's a 5-episode series, with each episode based on one of the books within the literary collection.

Benedict Cumberbatch on the set of 'Patrick Melrose'Benedict Cumberbatch on the set of 'Patrick Melrose'

Patrick Melrose may have been brought up in a wealthy and respectable family, but that doesn't mean his life is automatically set to go down the right path. With money and privilege comes indulgence, and with each trial and tribulation that happens within his dysfunctional life - an abusive father (Hugo Weaving), a cruel mother (Jennifer Jason Leigh), his parents dying, marriage, fatherhood - the temptation to sink into the peace of alcoholism and heroin addiction becomes harder to resist.

It's a semi-autobiographical portrayal of the dangers of inherited money; the emotional difficulties it poses and the pointlessness that can often come with a life of excess. Based on the stories by the Man Booker Prize nominated English author Edward St. Aubyn, the series has been directed by Edward Berger ('Deutchland 83', 'Jack') and written by David Nicholls, with star Benedict Cumberbatch among the executive producers.

It deals with themes that you would think Benedict would understand from his own privileged upbringing with his grandparents being part of high society, his attending private schools like Brambletye School and Harrow, and his parents being successful actors themselves. He might not necessarily have been enticed by the debaucherous trappings of upper-class life like Melrose, but he's certainly in a position to understand it better than most. He reveals, however, that the story transformed his outlook on that kind of society.

'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 told Variety. '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.'

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Each episode of the series is based on a different Patrick Melrose novel: 'Never Mind', 'Bad News', 'Some Hope', 'Mother's Milk' and 'At Last'. It comes six years after 'Mother's Milk' was made into a feature film starring Jack Davenport.