Des, starring David Tennant as Nilsen – who passed away in 2018 after spending 35 years in prison – will run from 9pm tonight (Monday) to Wednesday on ITV What's in store for US President-elect Biden in 2021? In 'Des,' David Tennant plays Dennis Nilsen, a withdrawn civil servant who just happens to be one of Britain's most famous serial killers. "You want to do the story justice.". © 2021 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. Sometimes he would drone on a little, but there was certainly nothing extraordinary, apparently, about this man. It's proof, if it were needed, of the former Doctor Who star's range. David Tennant portrays serial killer Dennis Nilsen in ITV drama Des. Almost 40 years later, Nilsen remains a cautionary tale in north London; proof that you never know what your unassuming neighbour might be doing. “Involving Masters in the story is another masterstroke,” says Tennant. The drama is based on the book Killing for Company by Brian Masters and will follow the arrest and trial of Nielsen – also known as the 'Muswell Hill Murderer' – in one of the most infamous cases in UK criminal history. David Tennant stars as notorious murderer Dennis Nilsen in new ITV drama Des. Last modified on Tue 15 Sep 2020 07.02 EDT. "That's one of the things that I think a drama like this can help us all unpick. David Tennant will play Dennis Nilsen in “Des,” an ITV drama about the Scottish serial killer who murdered numerous young men in London in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It is true that our growing obsession with true crime (ITV appears particularly keen on the genre, having recently screened White House Farm about the Jeremy Bamber case and Jeff Pope’s A Confession, which followed the case of the Swindon taxi driver Christopher Halliwell) brings with it a responsibility to the families of those who were killed. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Dennis Nilsen's death. .css-1hlxxic-PromoLink:link{color:inherit;}.css-1hlxxic-PromoLink:visited{color:#696969;}.css-1hlxxic-PromoLink:link,.css-1hlxxic-PromoLink:visited{-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}.css-1hlxxic-PromoLink:link:hover,.css-1hlxxic-PromoLink:visited:hover,.css-1hlxxic-PromoLink:link:focus,.css-1hlxxic-PromoLink:visited:focus{color:#B80000;-webkit-text-decoration:underline;text-decoration:underline;}.css-1hlxxic-PromoLink:link::after,.css-1hlxxic-PromoLink:visited::after{content:'';position:absolute;top:0;right:0;bottom:0;left:0;z-index:2;}Dennis Nilsen: Serial killer died in 'excruciating pain', Dennis Nilsen: Serial killer died after hospital surgery, Dennis Nilsen: Serial killer dies in prison aged 72, 1983: Nilsen 'strangled and mutilated' victims, US Congress overrides Trump defence bill veto. Video. David Tennant portrays serial killer Dennis Nilsen in ITV drama Des. "Then you try and sort of join the dots as best you can and present something that will look like a truth. Read about our approach to external linking. "This is recent history, this is all within our lifetimes that this happened, and therefore a lot of the legacy of pain that Nilsen caused is still pretty raw.". Without pretending to understand everything about who Nilsen was and why he did what he did, you hopefully can assemble something that will illuminate the unilluminatable.". On May 10, 2018, Dennis Nilsen was transported from prison to York Hospital after complaining of severe stomach pains. He had read Killing for Company, Brian Masters’s bestselling book about the murderer, out of “local interest” and had previously been attached to a “very dark” film about Nilsen, which fell through. Here's the chilling true story behind David Tennant's Des and real-life British serial killer Dennis Nilsen. The main mystery in any TV drama about a murder - or murders - is usually whodunit. By Jack Newman For … ITV has offered a first look at David Tennant as Scottish serial killer Dennis Nilsen in its newly-announced miniseries Des.. Dennis Nilsen, who live in Cricklewood after moving to London, murdered at least twelve young men and boys between 1978 and 1983. They did reach out to the families involved, “some of whom talked to us and some of whom didn’t want to be involved, understandably”. It’s about trying to get some sort of sense of him, not to relate to why he did what he did but to try to understand it. "Anyone who had known him at all, it seemed, said he was at best unremarkable and at worst bloody boring to be around. Tennant says producers spoke to the families of Nilsen's victims to make them aware of the programme and the intentions behind it. Trailer For David Tennant Thriller Des Has Dropped 4 months ago He said: "After he was arrested, Dennis Nilsen became obsessed with was the legend of 'Des' - the reputation that he left behind. The drama from Catherine … David Tennant is eerily uncanny as the notorious serial killer Dennis Nilsen in new snaps released of ITV drama Des airing in September. For Arnold and Neal, who also worked with the LGBTQ+ homeless charity Stonewall Housing, which was formed in 1983 six months after Nilsen’s trial, the key to Des is not that it tells Nilsen’s story, but that it takes a sharp look at society during the early 1980s, asking why it might be easy for people to fall between the cracks. David Tennant plays Dennis Nilsen in Des. “I don’t think any of us can stand there and say we haven’t done that. Photograph: ITV. "There's always the added pressure when you're playing a real person, particularly in a story like this," Mays says. David Tennant as Dennis Nilsen in Des. If Des succeeds, which it does, it is because Neal and Arnold are less interested in the killer than in how his crimes went undetected for so long. BBC. Nilsen, as portrayed by David Tennant, is apparently very co-operative when asked to help the police with their enquiries after human bones are found blocking his drains. Watkins also knows about playing real-life characters, including Prime Minister Harold Wilson in The Crown and the Bafta-winning title role in The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies. David Tennant as serial killer Dennis Nilsen from the ITV drama Des. There was a lot of homelessness, a lot of disfranchised people, a lot of poverty and unemployment – in that sense it’s not impossible to imagine someone like Nilsen doing something similar today.”. Image: Stan. The murderer, who changed the conversation on killers in the UK after his killing spree between 1978 and 1983 is the star of ITV and Sundance Now's new drama and his story is one that reads stranger than fiction. A third angle is provided by the portrayal of the true-crime writer Brian Masters (Jason Watkins), who became involved after becoming concerned about the way in which the press was covering the case. It was never our intention to glorify Nilsen.”, It is partly because of this that Neal and Arnold chose to eschew flashbacks, a standard device in true-crime dramas. What kind of society allows someone like Dennis Nilsen to flourish for five years?”. “Not only because it shows us how Nilsen was manipulating different people as they came into his orbit, but also because it allows us to comment on how society views serial killers and to examine our obsession with them.”. David Tennant says people have often pointed out his resemblance to Dennis Nilsen. Available for everyone, funded by readers. If not, it's howdunit. David Tennant's latest role may be his most gruesome one yet. How David Tennant transformed himself into serial killer Dennis Nilsen About to star as the notorious murderer in the new ITV drama Des, the actor explains the extraordinary challenges involved David Tennant (Credit: ITV) ITV has commissioned a new ITV drama, Des , starring David Tennant ( Good Omens ) as the serial killer Dennis Nilsen. David Tennant's startling physical transformation into Dennis Nilsen, one of Britain's most notorious serial killers, is shown in a new trailer. “I just thought the story was so extraordinary and unbelievable really,” Tennant says. LONDON — David Tennant has been aware of his “passing physical resemblance” to the British serial killer Dennis Nilsen for a while, he said in a recent telephone interview. In 'Des,' David Tennant plays Dennis Nilsen, a withdrawn civil servant who just happens to be one of Britain's most famous serial killers. Many actors would think twice before agreeing to play an infamous serial killer. Des starts on ITV on Monday 14 September at 9pm and continues on Tuesday and Wednesday. David Tennant says serial killer Dennis Nilsen was ‘actually rather boring’ Actor stars as the man who murdered at least 15 young men in London during the late Seventies and Eighties DAVID Tennant today looked a world away from serial killer Dennis Nilsen as he popped to the shops with his baby daughter. A recreation of the infamous shots of Nilsen being lead out of Hornsey Police Station after admitting murder. Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube. Dennis Nilsen's life story sounds like a script for a sadistic horror movie but tragically for his victims he turned out to truly be their worst nightmare.. VideoWhat's in store for US President-elect Biden in 2021? "It would be better if my reason for killing could be clearly defined, ie robbery, jealousy, hate, revenge, sex, blood lust or sadism," he wrote. David Tennant (Credit: ITV) ITV has commissioned a new ITV drama, Des , starring David Tennant ( Good Omens ) as the serial killer Dennis Nilsen. Many of Nilsen's victims were homeless and vulnerable. "It's something that everyone was always very keenly aware of," he says. How David Tennant transformed himself into serial killer Dennis Nilsen About to star as the notorious murderer in the new ITV drama Des, the actor explains the extraordinary challenges involved Tennant says they were "quite keen to make sure we didn't buy into" his own notion of notoriety. Most true-crime dramas have to walk a fine line between telling the story the audiences want to hear and sensationalising real and still painful events. Des starred David Tennant as real-life serial killer Dennis Nilsen (Credit: ITV) What did the friend saying about David Tennant in Des. Ten African music stars to look out for in 2021, .css-orcmk8-HeadlineContainer{display:-webkit-box;display:-webkit-flex;display:-ms-flexbox;display:flex;-webkit-box-pack:justify;-webkit-justify-content:space-between;-ms-flex-pack:justify;justify-content:space-between;}US Congress overrides Trump defence spending bill veto.css-1dedj2h-Rank{-webkit-align-self:center;-ms-flex-item-align:center;align-self:center;color:#B80000;margin-left:3.125rem;}1, First Minneapolis police death since George Floyd captured on bodycam2, Covid-19: New variant 'raises R number by up to 0.7'3, Wham! 'I'm Australian - why do I need to prove my loyalty? David Tennant looks like Fraserburgh-born serial killer Dennis Nilsen in the new ITV drama Des, but did he get his accent right? He would invite young men, many of whom were without roots, to his house in the north London suburb of Muswell Hill, where he offered them food and drink before killing them. © 2021 BBC. He unwittingly entered the job centre where Nilsen was working at the time and took the monster up on an offer of a drink before disappearing. What drew him to Des, however, was the sensitivity with which the writer, Luke Neal, and the director, Lewis Arnold, planned to tell their tale. "But it is none of these.". Des: Horrific way children reacted to Dennis Nilsen murders Des cover-up: Dennis Nilsen's secret smirk hidden from ITV drama Des star David Tennant divides fans with Dennis Nilsen portrayal Dennis Nilsen's death. By Jack Newman For Mailonline. "Of the few people I met who had personally known him, one of the most frequent descriptions seems to be that he was actually rather boring," Tennant says. He exploited their need for comfort.”, Tennant agrees that it is “a fascinating study of loneliness – everyone wandering around the city unable to connect” and adding that in many ways Nilsen’s story is a very London tale. The drama is based on the book Killing for Company by Brian Masters and will follow the arrest and trial of Nielsen – also known as the 'Muswell Hill Murderer' – in one of the most infamous cases in UK criminal history. His crimes were uncovered when the tenants at 23 Cranley Gardens, the block of flats in which he lived, called in a specialist to deal with blocked drains. .css-1xgx53b-Link{font-family:ReithSans,Helvetica,Arial,freesans,sans-serif;font-weight:700;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;color:#FFFFFF;}.css-1xgx53b-Link:hover,.css-1xgx53b-Link:focus{-webkit-text-decoration:underline;text-decoration:underline;}Read about our approach to external linking. "It certainly would seem that those who worked with him at the job office found him pleasant enough. At the time, he was working in a Job Centre, following stints in the police and the Army catering corps. “The more I researched, the less I became interested in Nilsen as a person and the more I was intrigued by the case, what it said about society at that time,” says Neal. DES' David Tennant has revealed the stomach-churning moment police found the head of one of Dennis Nilsen's victims in a pot on the stove. At his trial, prosecutors described him as a cunning and resourceful murderer who had killed for pleasure. Of course, when you do a story like this, everyone involved is very aware that you have to tread carefully and that you must be sensitive to the variety of reactions that it will provoke.". He transforms into Scottish serial killer Dennis Nilsen in the upcoming miniseries Des, which premieres this Thursday.Nilsen … Lucy Mangan @LucyMangan. But, you know, you study him and you stare at him and you try in some ways to replicate the way he talked or the way he moved, but you also have to get beyond that. "That's one of the reasons for telling this story. David Tennant ‘Dennis Nilsen preyed on those who fell through the cracks’: David Tennant on playing the serial killer ‘It avoids being titillating and I think that’s incredibly important To get into character, Tennant watched documentaries and footage of Nilsen from the time. “I think it’s a drama as much about how you cover crime as it is about the crimes themselves,” he says. Des starred David Tennant as real-life serial killer Dennis Nilsen (Credit: ITV) What did the friend saying about David Tennant in Des. The blockage was caused by human remains. “We had no desire to glorify him, and presenting his version of events as the true version would have been doing that.”. Nilsen, who was convicted in 1983 of a series of murders, was a very ordinary monster with a simple yet disturbingly successful method. While that sounds like a tall order, Tennant gives a convincingly deadpan portrayal. David Tennant explains why he played him in a new TV drama as "boring". Mon 14 Sep 2020 17.00 EDT. David Tennant in the Netflix series Criminal. There was so much misinformation out there about the victims, and the coverage was so terrible, “I was really intrigued when I read Luke’s script, not only because it captured the period so brilliantly, but also because the idea of coming into the story at the moment that Nilsen was arrested seemed like the perfect way in, because then you’re not dealing with this potential kind of gore-fest. Image: Stan. Des, he says, is intended to be "a huge acknowledgement of the victims and their families' pain". David Tennant as Dennis Nilsen in Des. He recently won lockdown with two comic appearances - in Staged, the brilliant long-distance double act with Michael Sheen, and a TikTok-inspired reunion with Catherine Tate for the BBC's Big Night In. David Tennant as Dennis Nilsen (Image: ITV) Nilsen also admitted boiling heads in a cooking pot on his stove to dispose of the brains. He was found guilty of … Last modified on Tue 15 Sep 2020 07.02 EDT. Nilsen himself tried to explain the roots of his "destructive binges" in letters to police that were read at his trial. The murderer, who changed the conversation on killers in the UK after his killing spree between 1978 and 1983 is the star of ITV and Sundance Now's new drama and his story is … US Congress overrides Trump defence spending bill veto, First Minneapolis police death since George Floyd captured on bodycam, Covid-19: New variant 'raises R number by up to 0.7', Wham! David Tennant is set to star as serial killer Dennis Nilsen in a new ITV drama. David Tennant is set to play the notorious serial killer Dennis Nilsen in the new ITV show Des, and a new trailer shows him in the role for the first time. 's Last Christmas goes to number one for the first time4, Adobe Flash Player is finally laid to rest5, TikTok faces legal action from 12-year-old girl in England6, Iran nuclear crisis: Tehran to enrich uranium to 20%, UN says7, Wall Street to kick out Chinese telecom giants8, Omar Elabdellaoui: Norway star hurt by firework on New Year's Eve9, Australia-China row: 'I'm Australian - why do I need to prove my loyalty?'10. ', Why 2021 could be turning point for tackling climate change, playThe train carriage for stray pets. David Tennant says serial killer Dennis Nilsen was ‘actually rather boring’ Actor stars as the man who murdered at least 15 young men in London during the late Seventies and Eighties And necrophile Dennis Nilsen in its newly-announced miniseries Des in new ITV drama Des murder! 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