David Tennant Is Identical To Infamous British Serial Killer Dennis Nilsen In New ITV Series

Ben PulsfordBen Pulsford in Entertainment, News, TV, UK
Published 24.11.19

David Tennant is identical to British necrophiliac serial killer Dennis Nilsen in new ITV drama series, Des

Des could be ITV’s most intense drama series yet.


It’s certainly one of David Tennant’s most intense roles to date, that’s for sure.

The Scottish actor is playing infamous necrophiliac serial killer Dennis Nilsen (also known as the “Muswell Hill Murderer”) in new ITV series, Des, which will tell the shocking real-life story of Scottish serial killer who killed at least 12 men in the ’70s and ’80s.

Dennis Nilsen
Dennis Nilsen (far right) being led from prison van by police

Actually, “kill” is perhaps too light a word to describe what this monster did to these men.

The new three-part mini-series will also star Line of Duty actor Jason Watkins as mass murderer biographer Brian Master (who wrote a famous book on Nilsen, called Killing For Company) and his Line of Duty co-star Daniel Mays as Detective Chief Inspector Peter Jay.


Chilling first-look at David Tennant as Dennis Nilsen

Tennant has physically transformed into a doppelgänger of the infamous killer, visible in this newly-released ITV promo image for Des. The internet has basically lost it over the uncanny resemblance and I get it.

Stop looking at me, David. You’re creeping me out.

Des David Tennant

‘Chilling’ is the word. I think this transformation might’ve even beat Zac Efron’s serial killer makeover.


ITV’s head of drama, Polly Hill said:

“This starts with Nilsen’s arrest and is looking at him through the eyes of the police officer trying to identify those he killed and deliver justice.

“David Tennant is going to be brilliant as Nilsen and, with Daniel and Jason, this has an incredible cast.”


Kim Varvell, Executive Producer for New Pictures, added:

“Dennis Nilsen’s crimes shocked the nation in the early 1980s. Our programme 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.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Luke and Lewis on this project, as well as the incredible cast.”


Who was Dennis Nilsen?

A f*cking monster. That’s who he was.

Dennis Nilsen


Dennis Nilsen – also known as the “Muswell Hill Murderer” – was responsible for the deaths of at least 12 men in the Muswell Hill area of North London between 1978-1983. The majority of Nilsen’s victims were either homosexual or homeless men, who he picked up in bars or on the streets of North London. Nilsen would invite these men into one of his homes, load them up with food and alcohol and then kill them – usually by strangulation.

He also famously burned his victims and buried them in the back garden (feeding some of their parts to wild animals on occasion), boiled heads in a cooking pot and disposed of the flesh down toilets and drains. Eventually, human flesh was found in his piping and he was arrested.

David Nilson house
One of the homes of British serial killer Dennis Nilsen.

He was sentenced to life in prison that same year for six counts of murder and two for attempted murder, with a recommendation he serve at least 25 years behind bars. The scumbag died in prison on 12 May 2018 at age 72.


Des arrest
Scottish serial killer, Dennis Nilsen (right), is escorted from Highgate police station to a police van on his way to a court appearance in London, shortly after his arrest in February 1983.

It’s safe to say that ITV has some sick content in store for us here. Add that to what will undoubtedly be a sickening performance from Tennant and Des looks set to make some serious waves.


Filming for Des has only just begun, but the series is expected to drop on ITV sometime next year. Can’t wait for those nightmares. Thanks in advance, ITV. 


Images via Getty and ITV