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Viewers In Awe Of David Tennant's Chilling Performance As Dennis Nilsen In Des

Viewers In Awe Of David Tennant's Chilling Performance As Dennis Nilsen In Des

Viewers were stunned by David Tennant's chilling portrayal of Dennis Nilsen in the first episode of the sinister thriller Des.

The ITV miniseries landed this evening and tells the true story of one of Britain's most infamous murderers.

A far cry from his days as The Doctor, those who tuned in were gripped by his performance.

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The series also sees Line of Duty's Daniel Mays play Detective Chief Inspector Peter Jay and The Crown's Jason Watkins as Nilsen's biographer Brian Masters.

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

Nilsen died on 12 May 2018 aged 72 and was a serial killer and necrophile who is believed to have brutally murdered at least 12 young men and boys between 1978 and 1983 - though he had originally claimed to have butchered as many as 16.

Speaking about the killer, Tennant recently told LADbible he felt it was 'right and proper' that Nilsen didn't live long enough to see the series.

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He said: "After he was arrested, Dennis Nilsen became obsessed with was the legend of 'Des' - the reputation that he left behind. Whenever he slipped out of public consciousness, there was almost a sense that he wanted to get back into it. That's why I'm relieved he's not alive.

"I would hate for this to go out and for him to be sitting in some cell somewhere imaging we were in any way glorifying him. I'm sure he would have complained about what we said and everything we did. At the same time, he would have been rather smugly pleased he was on television.

"I think it's right and proper it's transmitting after he's gone."

Viewer have praised Tennant's chilling performance as the infamous killer Dennis Nilsen. Credit: ITV/IJPR
Viewer have praised Tennant's chilling performance as the infamous killer Dennis Nilsen. Credit: ITV/IJPR
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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 on 9 February 1983.

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.

When confronted with the discovery, Nilsen is said to have told Cattran: "It looks to me like someone has been flushing down their Kentucky Fried Chicken."

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: True Crime, UK Entertainment

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]