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Honest portrayals of personal trauma

Patrick Melrose and The Tale show the aftermath of a troubling childhood

Benedict Cumberbatch (above) plays a drug-addled playboy from an uppercrust British family in Patrick Melrose. Laura Dern (below) stars as Jennifer Fox, who realises in her 40s that she was sexually abused as a teenager in The Tale.
Benedict Cumberbatch (above) plays a drug-addled playboy from an uppercrust British family in Patrick Melrose. Laura Dern (below) stars as Jennifer Fox, who realises in her 40s that she was sexually abused as a teenager in The Tale.PHOTOS: BBC STUDIOS, HBO
Benedict Cumberbatch (above) plays a drug-addled playboy from an uppercrust British family in Patrick Melrose. Laura Dern (below) stars as Jennifer Fox, who realises in her 40s that she was sexually abused as a teenager in The Tale.
Benedict Cumberbatch (above) plays a drug-addled playboy from an uppercrust British family in Patrick Melrose. Laura Dern (below) stars as Jennifer Fox, who realises in her 40s that she was sexually abused as a teenager in The Tale.PHOTOS: BBC STUDIOS, HBO

If you need further proof of the fetishisation of Englishness in popular culture, look no further than the career of Benedict Cumberbatch.

Since Sherlock (2010 to 2017), he has cornered the market on mannered portrayals of male protagonists that are so British, it hurts.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2018, with the headline 'Honest portrayals of personal trauma'. Subscribe