VIDEO: David Tennant Talks To News At Ten About Playing Serial Killer Dennis Nilsen And Explains Why The Drama Is Not A Memorial To Nilsen, But To His Victims


David Tennant was interviewed on last night's ITV News At Ten to talk about playing the role of serial killer Dennis Nilsen in the new true crime drama, Des.

The new three part drama, which David also executively produces, is based on Killing For Company, the biography of Nilsen written by Brian Masters which includes conversations with the killer who would go by the name of 'Des'.

In the interview David talks about why the series is a memorial not to Nilsen, but to his victims.

Watch the interview below:


Told through the prism of three men – Dennis Nilsen, Detective Chief Inspector Peter Jay played by Daniel Mays (Line of Duty, Temple) and biographer Brian Masters played by Jason Watkins (The Crown, The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies) – the series will explore the personal and professional consequences of coming into contact with a man like Nilsen.

Nilsen murdered boys and young men in his flat from 1978 to 1983. He was undetected for five years, and it was only when DCI Peter Jay was called to 23 Cranley Gardens on 9 February, 1983, to investigate human fragments of flesh and bone clogging the drains, that the police realised they had a serial killer on their hands.  

Dennis Nilsen was arrested and convicted at the Old Bailey of six counts of murder and two of attempted murder. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, which was replaced by a whole life tariff in 1994. He died in May 2018.

Told from both the police and Masters’ point of view, Des will explore how a man like Nilsen was able to prey on the young and vulnerable in 1980s Britain.  The series will not only highlight the police investigation and trial but also the effect of the media coverage on public perceptions of the victims at the time, raising questions of just how far have we really come since then?

Des will air on ITV in September

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