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.
The “Doctor Who,” “Broadchurch,” and “Good Omens” actor will star as Nilsen, known as Des, alongside Daniel Mays (“Line of Duty”), who plays the cop investigating the case. Jason Watkins (“The Crown”) is cast as Brian Masters, who penned the serial killer’s biography, with his full cooperation.
Based on Masters’ book “Killing for Company,” the three-part series will explore the personal and professional consequences of coming into contact with a man like Nilsen, who died in 2018.
Luke Neal wrote the series about the killer, who murdered boys and young men in his flat. Nilsen went undetected until cops investigate fragments of human flesh and bone clogging the drains.
“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,” said ITV drama boss Polly Hill, who commissioned the series.
All3Media’s New Pictures will produce. All3Media International will sell the series internationally. Kim Varvell, executive producer for New Pictures, said that “Nilsen’s crimes shocked the nation in the early 1980s” and that “our program focuses on the emotional impact of those terrible crimes, both on those who came into contact with Nilsen himself, and also on the victims’ families.”