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'The Real Des': ITV Is Airing A Chilling True Crime On Serial Killer Dennis Nilsen

'The Real Des': ITV Is Airing A Chilling True Crime On Serial Killer Dennis Nilsen

ITV has announced a true crime documentary on serial killer Dennis Nilsen to coincide with the release of their drama based on his life.

The Real 'Des': The Dennis Nilsen Story, which is set for release this autumn, will explore the personality of the notorious criminal who admitted to murdering up to 15 young men at his homes in London and disposed of their bodies in his garden and down his drain.

A spokesperson for ITV said: "On the surface, Nilsen was a mild-mannered civil servant, though his true persona was terrifying and deadly. Nilsen was drawn to young men who he murdered and brutalised in bizarre rituals.

"But he was also a rarity - a killer who wanted to talk and to boast about his crimes from the moment he was caught."

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Nilsen killed up to 15 men during his reign of terror (Credit: PA)
Nilsen killed up to 15 men during his reign of terror (Credit: PA)

Often referred to as the 'kindly killer' for his calm nature and honesty when being interviewed, Nilsen murdered up to 16 boys and men in his North London flat between 1978 and 1983.

Nielsen's victims were often homeless or living off grid, susceptible to the generosity of strangers.
Once back at Nilsen's, he would strangle them - sometimes combined with drowning - before observing a ritual in which he would bathe and dress the victim's bodies, which he would keep for long periods of time.

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Suspicion was first raised by a plumber who responded to complaints by tenants of 23 Cranley Gardens, where Nilsen lived.

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ITV is also airing a drama on Nilsen starring David Tennant (Credit: ITV)
ITV is also airing a drama on Nilsen starring David Tennant (Credit: ITV)

Opening a drain cover, the plumber found it packed with flesh-like substance and bones. Chillingly, hearing the plumber thought it looked like human flesh, Nilsen exclaimed among a group of tenants: "It looks to me like someone has been flushing down their Kentucky Fried Chicken."

Timed to coincide with ITV's drama Des, starring David Tennant, the hour-long documentary also features insight from experts who attempted to get inside the murderer's mind including criminologist David Wilson, who interviewed and corresponded with Nilsen over several decades.

Nilsen was found to have flushed human remains down the drains (Credit: PA)
Nilsen was found to have flushed human remains down the drains (Credit: PA)
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Featuring new material and previously unseen archive, along with interviews with victims' families, the documentary will also include footage from an astonishing and infamous interview Nilsen gave to ITV at Albany Prison in 1992.

Featured Image Credit: ITV/ Met Police

Unity Blott

Unity Blott is the Editor at Tyla and joined the team in April 2019. You can contact her on [email protected]