Benedict Cumberbatch had to 'posh up' to play Patrick Melrose

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Despite being educated at a £34,590-a-year public school and having a name seemingly plucked directly from a Jane Austin novel, Benedict Cumberbatch has said he needed to "posh up" to play Patrick Melrose.

The actor currently plays the titular character in the ongoing five-part adaptation of Edward St Aubyn's novel airing on Sky Atlantic, the first episode having won rave reviews from critics.

“He’s properly posh,” Cumberbatch told RadioTimes.

“I know everyone goes on about the posh thing with me – but despite looking it, I am not that class. That class is landed gentry. I had to posh up for this.”

Cumberbatch – son of actors Timothy Carlton and Wanda Ventham – has been at the centre of many debates concerning "posh" actors being Britain's main acting export.

Actors such as Julie Walters have previously spoken about the lack of opportunities available to those from working class background, while those from privileged backgrounds prosper.

Speaking previously about his own background, Cumberbatch said: “I’m definitely middle class, I think. I know others would argue but I’m not upper class.

"Upper class to me means you are either born into wealth or you’re royalty. Okay, maybe I’m upper middle class.”

During the same interview with RadioTimes, Cumberatch spoke about the Melrose's addictive behaviour, being a regular drug taker, and how they both differ drastically as the 41-year-old is "very happy with near-sobriety".

"I have the odd blow-out, now and again – a big birthday, or crazy weekend at a festival – but I prefer yoga and meditation," he told the publication.

Patrick Melrose is currently showing on Sundays on Sky Atlantic while Cumberbatch can also be seen in cinemas playing Doctor Strange in Avengers: Infinity War.