Dennis Nilsen was a Scottish serial killer and necrophile who murdered at least twelve young men and boys between 1978 and 1983 in London, England. Two years after his death in prison in 2018, ITV are creating Des, a dramatisation of his life starring Doctor Who alumni David Tennant.
Tennant seems like a shrewd choice to play Nilsen. His recent performance in the Netflix series Criminal was a captivating portrayal of a man responding to the pressure of a police interrogation. Expect some pretty riveting scenes as the officers tease out details of Nilsen’s horrific crimes.
The limited series is coming to ITV in September, and you’ll find the trailer below.
Des won’t be the first adaptation of Nilsen’s sordid career. Recently rereleased by Arrow Films, 1989’s Cold Light of Day is a criminally underseen British drama with an agonisingly grim aesthetic. Bob Flag plays Jorden March, a transparent analogue of Nilsen, with an understated detachment that feels chillingly realistic.
We’re pretty excited at he prospect of a new Nilsen series. After all, ITV brought us Appropriate Adult, a dramatisation of the events surrounding the arrest of Fred West. We maintain that that is one of the greatest true crime series of all time. We hope that Nilsen’s story will be as well-handled.