Patrick Mel­rose on the small screen; the over­due re­turn of novelist Matthew Klam with Who is Rich?

Ed­ward St Aubyn’s cult nov­els fi­nally land on the small screen

Esquire (UK) - - Contents -

“Un­less some­thing seems al­most im­pos­si­ble to say,” Ed­ward St Aubyn,

au­thor of the five quasi­au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal Patrick Mel­rose nov­els, told Esquire in 2011, “there doesn’t seem to be any point in lock­ing

your­self in a room for years on the verge of a ner­vous break­down try­ing to say it.” Per­haps David Ni­cholls, the au­thor of One Day and Us, felt sim­i­larly when he was charged with

adapt­ing St Aubyn’s nov­els for a five-part se­ries, Mel­rose, which makes its de­but this month (though he’d be too po­lite to say so).

The dif­fi­cul­ties of the sub­ject mat­ter of the books are hard to deny — young Patrick Mel­rose is sex­u­ally abused by his sadis­tic fa­ther and turns to heroin as a young man, lead­ing in­evitably to a spi­ral of de­cline. But

they’re also pin-sharp, funny and — there’s no other way to say it — fun. It’s an un­likely bal­ance that St Aubyn achieves and Ni­cholls is more than ca­pa­ble of match­ing, though he will

no doubt be glad that the script ended up in the hands of Bene­dict

Cum­ber­batch, whose knack for sup­pressed angst and stony-faced English wit should make for a per­fect Patrick. We can’t wait.

Mel­rose starts at 9pm on 13 May on Sky

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