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David Tennant Will Star In Chilling New ITV Drama 'Des' About Serial Killer Dennis Nilsen

David Tennant Will Star In Chilling New ITV Drama 'Des' About Serial Killer Dennis Nilsen

David Tennant is the epitome of an acting chameleon, having played a brooding detective in Broadchurch, a thrill-seeking demon in Good Omens and not forgetting an alien Time Lord in Doctor Who.

Yet, the Scottish actor is about to take on his most sadistic role to date playing real-life serial killer Dennis Nilsen in ITV's newly-announced drama Des.

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David Tennant will play serial killer Dennis Nilsen, pictured above, in ITV drama 'Des'. (Credit: Wikipedia)
David Tennant will play serial killer Dennis Nilsen, pictured above, in ITV drama 'Des'. (Credit: Wikipedia)

The three-part miniseries follows the arrest and trial of coldblooded Scottish killer Dennis, known as Des, who murdered boys and young men in his flat from 1978 to 1983.

His heinous crimes went undetected for five years, until DCI Peter Jay was called to 23 Cranley Gardens on 9th February, 1983, to investigate human fragments of flesh and bone clogging the drains. It was then that the police realised they had a serial killer on their hands.

Dennis was subsequently 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.

Tennant will undertake the sadistic role for the three-part miniseries. (Credit: PA)
Tennant will undertake the sadistic role for the three-part miniseries. (Credit: PA)
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Des will be told from his, the police and the biographer's point of view and will explore how a man like Nilsen was able to prey on the vulnerable in 1980s Britain.

Alongside Tennant, Line of Duty's Daniel Mays will undertake the role of Detective Chief Inspector Peter Jay, while biographer Brian Masters played by Jason Watkins of The Crown.

Written by Luke Neal, the drama is based on material from the book Killing for Company by Brian Masters, which focuses on one of the most infamous cases in UK criminal history, that of serial killer Dennis.

The drama follows the arrest and trial of Dennis, who murdered boys and young men in his flat from 1978 to 1983. (Credit: PA)
The drama follows the arrest and trial of Dennis, who murdered boys and young men in his flat from 1978 to 1983. (Credit: PA)

Commenting on the new series, ITV's Head of Drama Polly Hill said: "This drama starts with Nilsen's arrest and is looking at him through the eyes of the police officer trying to identify those he killed and deliver justice for them and the biographer he chose to tell his story.

"David Tennant is going to be brilliant as Dennis Nilsen and with Daniel Mays as Jay and Jason Watkins as Brian, this has an incredible cast to bring this story to screen and we are delighted to be making this with New Pictures for ITV."

While Kim Varvell, Executive Producer for New Pictures added: "Dennis Nilsen's crimes shocked the nation in the early 1980s.

"Our programme focuses on the emotional impact of those terrible crimes, both on those who came into contact with Nilsen himself, and also on the victims' families."

The series is yet to go into production and so, an air date is yet to be confirmed. But we'll be sure to keep you updated when we hear anymore.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: True Crime, TV News, TV Entertainment

Lisa McLoughlin

Lisa is a freelance journalist working for Tyla and the team's token Dubliner. After graduating with a MA in PR and Digital Marketing from D.I.T., she worked for MailOnline, Sun Online, Irish Independent and broadcaster RTÉ. Got a story of interest or want advice on how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness? Then email her at [email protected]

 

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