David Tennant’s shocking likeness to serial killer Dennis Nilsen in upcoming drama

David Tennant may recently have played a demon in fantasy Good Omens, but in Des he’ll play one of the UK’s most notorious serial killers – Dennis Nilsen. New ITV drama Des will chart the account of what happened after Nilsen was apprehended.

David Tennant bears a shocking similarity to Dennis Nilsen in a photo which replicates an official police photograph taken of the serial killer after he was arrested.

The Muswell Hill Murderer was caught in 1983 in the most gruesome of circumstances.

The drains outside his flat had become blocked, and when the blockage was investigated human flesh and bone were discovered in the pipes.

Nilsen himself, incredibly, had written to his estate agents complaining about the drains at his property at Cranley Gardens.


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When a Dyno-Rod employee arrived to flush the system, the alarm was raised. Police were contacted and not long after Nilsen admitted to his depraved crimes.

He was arrested on 9 February 1983 and was jailed for life in November 1983.

It was recommended he serve a minimum 25 years after his conviction for six murders and two of attempted murder.

The sentence was later upgraded to a whole-life-tariff in 1994 and he died in prison in May 2018.

Nilsen’s murders had taken place over a five-year period, from 1978 to 1983.

During the trial the court heard that Nilsen told police he had killed 15 or 16 people.

Remains were not only found at his address in Cranley Gardens.

Bones were unearthed at a house in Melrose Avenue, Cricklewood, where Nilsen had also lived.

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The ITV drama is based on the book Killing for Company, written by Brian Masters, which documents Nilsen’s shocking case.

While Nilsen is at the core of the drama, Des is concerned with exploring the effects dealing with Nilsen had on the officers and others who came into contact with him.

DCI Peter Jay, who arrested Nilsen, will be played by Daniel Mays.

The Crown’s Jason Watkins will play Brian Masters, the biographer.


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Another aspect the drama will explore is how the victims were portrayed in the press, asking whether society has changed that much since 1983.

David Tennant was seen recently in Netflix drama Criminal, where all the action took place in an interrogation room.

Nilsen, though, is unquestionably his darkest role yet.

Des is coming soon to ITV.

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