Don't whimper, it's unattractive.
~ Melrose after abusing his son

David Melrose is the main antagonist of Edward St. Aubyn's Patrick Melrose novel series, and the TV miniseries based on it. He is the sadistic, sexually abusive father of the title character.

In the miniseries, he is portrayed by Hugo Weaving, who also portrayed Agent Smith in the Matrix trilogy, Red Skull in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thaddeus Valentine in Mortal Engines, V in V for Vendetta, and Megatron in the Transformers movie franchise.


David is the patriarch of the wealthy, aristocratic Melrose family. He is a brilliant doctor and a talented musician; he is also a cold, sadistic tyrant who physically, emotionally, and sexually abuses his wife, Eleanor, and son, Patrick. He also rapes Patrick's childhood friend Anna, and it is implied that he sexually abuses many other children, as well. For all his considerable faults, however, he is fiercely intelligent and has a sharp, cynical wit, which he frequently employs to abuse and belittle people he considers his inferiors - that is to say, everyone.

Patrick despises his father, but is also in awe of him. For his part, David considers Patrick the only person who can match wits with him, and is also the only person who (briefly) makes him see the error of his ways. One night, David gets drunk and tries to molest Patrick, but the boy fights back and tells his father that no one deserves to be treated that way; David has a sudden flash of remorse, and leaves Patrick alone.

It is implied, however, that this remorse is short-lived, and that the abuse continues until Patrick outgrows David's age preference. As a young adult, he learns that his mother knew about the abuse and did nothing to stop it. Desperate to numb the pain, Patrick becomes an alcoholic and a drug addict.

David dies of old age when Patrick is a young man. David's death sets the stage for Patrick's yearslong struggle to conquer his addictions and make peace with his past.


St. Aubyn based the character of David Melrose on his own late father, Roger Geoffrey St. Aubyn, who he claims sexually abused him when he was a child with the complicity of his mother.

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