Show Synopsis

Patrick Melrose follows the story of Patrick, a troubled member of the English upper class, from his childhood in the South of France, to his adult life in New York and London. Abused by his father as a child, Patrick suffers psychological trauma, and battles with heroin addiction. The series tracks Patrick’s attempts to rehabilitate, his father’s death, Patrick’s personal struggle to be a good father, his mother’s desire for assisted suicide, and the loss of the family home.

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Patrick Melrose

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About the show

London, 1982. Patrick Melrose, twenty-three years old and in the grip of an all-consuming heroin addiction, flies to New York to collect his father’s ashes. Despite assuring best friend and fellow addict Johnny, and his two love interests Debbie and Julia, that he will detox in New York, a weekend of debauchery awaits him. As Patrick scours the sidewalks of Manhattan for a high, he is followed by memories of his father’s cruelty and his mother’s neglect. Over the course of his stay he meets old acquaintances: Anne Eisen, an old friend and confidante; the beautiful and unobtainable Marianne Banks; and his old dealers, Chilly Willy and Pierre. After a disastrous wake with his father’s friends, Patrick pushes himself to the limits with a cocktail of drugs and alcohol, and a desire to supress his past.

Lacoste, 1967. During a hot summer’s day at the Melrose chateau in Lacoste, eight-year old Patrick explores the grounds, a sanctuary of hiding places from the complex adult world. David Melrose, cruel, conceited and volatile, presides over the house with an air of indignation. Eleanor Melrose nurses a habitual hangover with a morning cocktail of pills and brandy. With an evening dinner party planned, Eleanor drives across the French countryside to collect their guests: Victor and Anne, old friends of David’s; and Nicholas Pratt with his latest fling Bridget. In his mother’s absence, Patrick is left alone with his father. During the afternoon, Patrick’s world changes forever when David rapes him. Alone and terrified, Patrick watches on from the stairs as his father continues as normal with the luxurious dinner, regaling his guests with objectionable stories, and offending all but his devoted disciple Nicholas.

England, 1990. Patrick Melrose, now thirty-one, is finally clean and practicing law. Despite avoiding social situations and their inevitable temptations, Patrick is persuaded to attend a high society event in the Cotswolds by best friend Johnny. The party is held for Sonny Gravesend’s 50th birthday, thrown by Nicholas Pratt’s former lover Bridget.

With a guest list that includes ambassadors, lords, and Princess Margaret, the last thing Bridget needs is news of Sonny’s infidelity, and that his mistress will be attending! As the evening unfolds, Patrick sees this decadent world through sober eyes for the first time, and takes the opportunity to unpick it with Johnny. With his newfound clarity, he confides in his best friend, and comes one step closer to resolving his troubled childhood.

Lacoste, 2003. Patrick, forty-four, is now married to Mary, with sons Robert and Thomas. Patrick may be off the heroin, but is back tackling his troubles with substance abuse. Eleanor Melrose is rendered almost speechless by a series of strokes. The Melrose lifestyle is under threat from a New Age foundation that Eleanor has promised ownership of the chateau to. As tensions run high, Patrick struggles to hold his temper in front of Eleanor and her new friends, and when ex-girlfriend Julia arrives, Patrick slips into his past habit of infidelity. Before Patrick and Mary leave for New York, Eleanor asks Patrick to help her die. Patrick, Mary, and the boys visit cousin Henry and aunt Nancy at her Connecticut mansion, a hark back to the old days of wealth and luxury held by his parent’s generation. After a tumultuous visit, full of drunken rows, the Melrose family return to London to face the future, and Eleanor’s final wish.

London, 2005. Having always dreamed of being an orphan, Patrick now has his wish at the age of forty-six. No longer with Mary, Patrick is clean and living alone in a grim bedsit. At the funeral, as the guests start to arrive, Patrick thinks back to the last year since Eleanor’s assisted suicide request. After losing his family to drink, Patrick checked in to Rehab, and finally kicked his habit of dependence. As the guests start to leave the memorial, Patrick’s joy at being newly orphaned begins to fade. And, as news arrives that Nicholas has died of a heart attack, Patrick realises that his parents’ social circle are all now dead. Patrick begins to see a future at last, and heads out to make amends with his family.

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