Benedict Cumberbatch is set to play an aristocratic playboy in a new TV series.

Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch

The 'Sherlock' hunk will play womaniser Patrick Melrose in the forthcoming Sky Atlantic five-part show 'Melrose', which is based on Edward St Aubyn's semi-autobiographical novels, and act as one of the producers alongside his business partner Adam Ackland.

The pair 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' adaptations are extraordinary."

David Nicholls will write the five episodes, which will be set in the south of France in the 1960s, New York in the 1980s and Britain in the early 2000s, based on the novels.

He said: "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 Melrose."

The novels are loosely based on the author's own life - growing up in a dysfunctional upper-class English family, dealing with the deaths of his mother and father, alcoholism, heroin addiction and recovery, marriage and parenthood.

The official announcement explained that the story "hilariously skewers the upper class as it tracks the protagonist's harrowing odyssey from a deeply traumatic childhood through adult substance abuse, and ultimately, towards recovery."

Shooting for 'Melrose' will kick off in July and is set to air on Sky Atlantic next year.