New Pictures’ chilling three-parter, based on the true story of serial killer Dennis Nilsen (Tennant), will debut on commissioning broadcaster ITV in the U.K. later this year.
Distributor All3Media Intl. has also secured deals for “Des” with DirecTV for Latin America, while STAN has taken Australia, and TVNZ has acquired rights for New Zealand.
Initial European deals are led by a pan-territory acquisition from C More Entertainment encompassing Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Further pick-ups in Europe include VRT (Flemish Belgium), Siminn HF (Iceland), TV2 (Norway), Virgin Media Television (Ireland) and BritBox (U.K.). Dazzler Media has signed U.K. DVD/DTO rights.
Known as the “kindly killer,” Nilsen was a local government worker who spent five years murdering boys and young men he met on the streets of London’s Soho from 1978 to 1983. He would meet and befriend these men before offering them food or lodgings for the evening back at his North London flat.
His victims were often homeless or living off grid, having slipped through the cracks of 1980s British society and were therefore welcoming of this stranger’s apparent generosity. When he was finally caught on Feb. 9, 1983, Nilsen had murdered a total of 15 men over a period of five years, making him Britain’s most prolific serial killer of the time.
“Des,” directed by Lewis Arnold (“Dark Money”) and written by Luke Neal and Kelly Jones, is based on material from the book “Killing for Company” by Brian Masters.
Sally Habbershaw, exec VP Americas at All3Media Intl., commented: “’Des’ brings this infamous case vividly to life, focusing on the investigation and trial, as well as the impact media coverage had on public perceptions. This premium primetime miniseries is set to be one of this year’s most gripping true crime dramas.”