David Tenant will play Britain’s most notorious serial killer in new ITV drama

ITV has just dropped the trailer for new, gritty, TV drama ‘Des’ starring David Tenant.

The eerie series sees Tennant play Dennis Nilsen, one of Britain’s most infamous murderers – a bit of a change from Dr Who.

The chilling trailer sees Tennant’s character Nilsen confess to multiple murders, saying: “Nice to feel listened to, makes me feel human again.”

We also see Line of Duty’s Daniel Mays as Detective Chief Inspector Peter Jay and The Crown’s Jason Watkins as Nilsen’s biographer Brian Masters.

Nilsen, who died on 12 May 2018 aged 72, was a serial killer and necrophile who is believed to have brutally murdered at least 12 young men and boys between 1978 and 1983.

Speaking about David playing the role of Dennis, ITV’s Head of Drama Polly Hill said: “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.”

The Scottish killer was arrested by police after a plumber responded to the complaints made by Nilsen and other tenants about the drains at 23 Cranley Gardens on 9 February 1983.

David Tennant plays infamous serial killer in ITV's Des trailer
Credit: ITV

After opening the drain cover, the plumber, Michael Cattran, discovered a flesh-like substance and a number of bones.

Suspicions were raised that they may, in fact, be human remains.

At the time Nilsen reportedly told Cattran: “It looks to me like someone has been flushing down their Kentucky Fried Chicken.”

According to Laura Foreman’s Serial Killers, Dennis feigned surprise when he was investigated, before eventually coming clean.

After being confronted, he reportedly said: “It’s a long story; it goes back a long time. I’ll tell you everything. I want to get it off my chest. Not here – at the police station.”

And when asked if anyone else had live with him in his flat, he is said to have replied: “Fifteen or sixteen, since 1978.”

Following his arrest, Nilsen initially confessed to 15 murders, although he’s only known for certain to have committed 12.

In 1983, he was convicted on six counts of murder and two of attempted murder, with a recommendation he serve at least 25 years behind bars.

His sentence was later upgraded to a whole-life tariff.

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