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Des Star Daniel Mays Dreamt Dennis Nilsen Was Trying To Kill Him

Des Star Daniel Mays Dreamt Dennis Nilsen Was Trying To Kill Him

Daniel Mays said he was so haunted by Dennis Nilsen that he had nightmares the murderer was trying to kill him.

The actor plays the late Detective Chief Inspector Peter Jay, the officer who arrested Nilsen 37 years ago, in the chilling ITV miniseries Des.

And Mays said working on the dark story gave him sleepless nights.

He told The Daily Record: "One night I had a terrible nightmare that I was somehow locked in an attic with Dennis Nilsen.

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"My wife was waking me up, I was proper shaking. And then it happened again. I had two nightmares about it.

"God only knows what the police and the families of the victims were going through, because it certainly is a subject matter that really gets under your skin."

Adding: "And it is ­completely and utterly mind-boggling how on earth someone can actually do anything like that."

Mays dreamt Nilsen was trying to kill him. Credit: PA
Mays dreamt Nilsen was trying to kill him. Credit: PA
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The series sees David Tennant take on the role of Nilsen, who killed at least 12 young men between 1978 and 1983.

Mays said: "Even in the read-through, he was channelling something eerie - and then when we saw him in costume, it was chilling."

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While filming the series, Mays says he and other officers would go to the pub for a few drinks at the end of shooting.

However, Tennant, wanting to keep that distance, would go straight home.

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"David certainly kept himself well away from all of that, he kept himself private from the rest of us," he said.

"I think that's definitely what he needed and instinctively, as a group of actors playing the police, we knew that was the way he was going to approach it and we completely respected that."

Mays plays Detective Chief Inspector Peter Jay in the gripping series. Credit: ITV/IJPR
Mays plays Detective Chief Inspector Peter Jay in the gripping series. Credit: ITV/IJPR

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.

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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, London, on 9 February 1983.

After opening the drain cover, the plumber, Michael Cattran, discovered a flesh-like substance and a number of bones, and suspicions were soon raised that they were human remains.

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.

Featured Image Credit: ITV/IJPR

Topics: Entertainment, True Crime

Dominic Smithers

Dominic graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in French and History. Like you, Dom has often questioned how much use a second language has been. Well, after stints working at the Manchester Evening News, the Accrington Observer and the Macclesfield Express, along with never setting foot in France, he realised the answer is surprisingly little. But I guess, c'est la vie. Contact us at [email protected]