Des | A true-crime drama on one of the most infamous serial killers in UK history

Share your Subscriber Article
You have 5 articles to share every month. Send this story to a friend!
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
David Tennant as Dennis Nilsen.
David Tennant as Dennis Nilsen.
Photo: BritBox

Doctor Who star David Tennant takes on a dark new role in the true-crime drama Des.

The three-part miniseries tells the story of one of the most infamous serial killers in UK history - Dennis Nilsen. Referred to as the "kindly killer", Nilsen was a civil servant who spent five years murdering boys and young men he met on the streets of London from 1978 to 1983. By the time he was finally caught on 9 February 1983, Nilsen had murdered as many as 15 men over a period of five years, which made him Britain's most prolific serial killer at the time.

The story is told through the prism of three isolated men - a detective, a biographer, and Nilsen himself. While Detective Peter Jay (Daniel Mays) and the police investigation's attempt to get justice for as many victims as possible provides the narrative and emotional spine, the relationship between Nilsen and his biographer Brian Masters (Jason Watkins) allows us to delve into the mind of one of the most emotionally elusive serial killers the world has ever seen.

Support independent journalism
Subscribe to News24 for just R75 per month to read all our investigative and in-depth journalism. You can cancel any time.
Already a subscriber? Sign in