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David Tennant - Des

David Tennant as the serial killer Dennis Nilsen from the new ITV drama Des

David Tennant played one of Britain's most infamous serial killers in an ITV drama which explored Scottish Dennis Nilsen's five-year killing spree and was titled Des.

Also in the three episode drama were Line Of Duty actor Daniel Mays as Detective Chief Inspector Peter Jay and Jason Watkins as Brian Masters who wrote a biography on Nilsen.

The drama was told through the prism of the three men: Dennis Nilsen, Detective Chief Inspector Peter Jay and biographer Brian Masters. The series explores the personal and professional consequences of coming into contact with a man like Nilsen.

Additional cast included Ron Cook, Faye McKeever, Chanel Cresswell, Barry Ward, Tony Way, Bronagh Waugh, Laurie Kynaston, Ross Anderson, Ben Bailey Smith, Jay Simpson, Silas Carson, Stuart McQuarrie, Jamie Parker, Lex Shrapnel, Gerard Horan, Joel Morris, Jonathan Coy, Amy Booth-Steel, Ken Bones, Andrew Woodall and Amaka Okafor.

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."

The drama was based on material from Brian's book Killing For Company which features conversations with the serial killer who was known as Des.

Des was written by Luke Neal (episodes one and two) and Kelly Jones (episode three).

David Tennant was one of the executive producers.

Nilsen was a former soldier and policeman who murdered at least a dozen boys and young men in his North London homes between 1978 and 1983. He was only caught when DCI Peter Jay was called to his home in Muswell Hill to investigate human remains clogging the drains. The killer had strangled his victims before chopping them up and flushing their body parts down the toilet.

The drama also looked at why his killing spree went uncovered for so long which was in part because his victims were homeless or prostitutes. Nilsen was convicted of six counts of murder and two of attempted murder in 1983 and given a life sentence. He died in 2018 aged 72.

Des started filming on Monday 25th November 2019 and aired in the UK on the three consecutive evenings Monday 14th to Wednesday 16th September 2020 at 9pm. Broadcast deals for Des in other markets include Sundance Now for the Americas (where broadcast will start on Thursday 15th October 2020), Stan for Australia, TVNZ On Demand for New Zealand (from Thursday 8th October), Virgin Media One in Ireland (from Monday 5th October) and CMore for Scandinavia.

Des will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray in the UK on Monday 12th October.

David Tennant also narrated a documentary titled The Real 'Des': The Dennis Nilsen Story. The one hour documentary premiered on ITV on Thursday 17th September at 9pm.

The first trailer for Des:

Link to posts related to Des on Blogger.com. (Usually with more detail.)

September 2020
TVZone reports that Des took the top 3 slots in the 7 day consolidated ratings for programmes shown between Monday 14th and Sunday 20th September 2020!
The figures were:
1. Des (Mon) - 9,951,906
2. Des (Wed) - 8,933,799
3. Des (Tue) - 8,705,936
The fourth slot was taken by a soap opera with 6.8 million (so almost 2 million less). Updated 28/9

Broadcast dates announced for Des in Ireland and New Zealand.
Ireland will broadcast the first episode of Des on Virgin Media One at 10pm on Monday 5th October with the subsequent episodes broadcast on Monday 12th and Monday 19th October.
The documentary The Real 'Des': The Dennis Nilsen Story will be broadcast on Monday 5th October at 11pm and is narrated by David Tennant.
In New Zealand all three episodes of the series will be made available on TVNZ On Demand on Thursday 8th October. Updated 27/9

Des plays at Zurich Film Festival in Lagerstrasse, Zurich at 1.15pm today in Kosmos 4. Updated 27/9

It may be removed at some point but currently the documentary The Real 'Des': The Dennis Nilsen Story is available on YouTube. Updated 23/9

Des will stream in the US and Canada from Thursday 15th October.
The remaining two episodes will stream on the following two Thursdays. Updated 22/9

The first episode of Des had a consolidated figure of 10.9 million viewers (that was 9.6m excluding non-television and repeats) so was ITV's biggest new drama launch since Wild At Heart in 2006.
It also makes it the biggest new drama launch on any channel this year. Updated 22/9

More photos of David Tennant on the set of Des have been posted online. Updated 20/9

The cover art for the DVD and Blu-ray of Des in the UK has been updated with reviews/stars. Updated 19/9

A great photo of David Tennant on the set of Des with Daniel Mays has been posted online. Updated 19/9

A video of the making of Des has been posted to YouTube. Updated 18/9

A great photo of David Tennant on the set of Des with Jason Watkins has been posted online. Updated 18/9

A photo of David Tennant and director Lewis Arnold on the set of Des has been posted online. Updated 18/9

Link to ITV Hub to watch The Real 'Des': The Dennis Nilsen Story.
The link is only valid in the UK.

The Real 'Des': The Dennis Nilsen Story last night was watched by 3.1m (19.9%) so it was the most popular show on television in that slot which is very impressive for a documentary. Updated 18/9

The overnight figures for the three episodes of Des were:
Monday - 5.4m (31.7%)
Tuesday - 4.8m (27.0%)
Wednesday - 5.2m (29.0%) Updated 17/9

5.2 million watched the third and final episode of Des on ITV last night which was a massive 29% of those people watching television at that time.
The episode had a peak of almost 6 million. Updated 17/9

A lovely tweet by director Lewis Arnold about David Tennant in Des (with some photos) has been posted online. Updated 17/9

Link to ITV Hub to watch all three episodes of Des.
The link is only valid in the UK. Updated 17/9

Tonight David Tennant narrates a documentary titled The Real 'Des': The Dennis Nilsen Story.
The one hour documentary premieres on ITV at 9pm. Updated 17/9

A clip from tonight's concluding episode of Des has been posted online. Updated 16/9

4.8 million watched the second episode of Des on ITV last night.
So far almost 7 million people have watched the first episode in total (this is on television or on ITV Hub). Updated 16/9

Link to ITV Hub to watch the second episode of Des. The link is only valid in the UK. Updated 16/9

The third and final episode of Des premieres on ITV tonight. Updated 16/9

Des was watched by an average of 5.4 million last night which made it the biggest drama launch on ITV since Cleaning Up in 2019. Updated 15/9

Link to ITV Hub to watch the first episode of Des. The link is only valid in the UK. Updated 15/9

David Tennant has been nominated for the Best Actor Award for Des (even though it only started last night) in the TV Times/ What's On TV Awards.
There She Goes is also nominated for the Best Comedy Award.
Link to vote.
Voting ends on Tuesday 6th October. Updated 15/9

Metro also gives Des 5 stars in its review. It includes the line 'David Tennant gave us a version of Nilsen that was both plausible and abominable.' Updated 15/9

The Times (behind a paywall) has awarded 5 stars to Des in its review which includes 'Not until I saw the videos (available on YouTube) of the serial killer Dennis Nilsen being interviewed in prison did I realise how brilliant David Tennant's performance is in Des.' Updated 15/9

The Independent also gives Des 4 stars in its review which includes the comment 'David Tennant plays Nilsen, the latest effort in Tennant's attempt to prove no actor is more versatile.' Updated 15/9

The Guardian gives Des a 4 star review which has the title 'David Tennant excels as a perfectly ordinary serial killer.' Updated 15/9

The second episode of Des premieres on ITV tonight. Updated 15/9

The first episode of Des premieres on Stan in Australia today. Updated 15/9

Due to the sensitive topic of the drama and out of respect for the families of Nilsen's victims, we have made the decision not to post screencaps of David Tennant in Des as we feel it would be inappropriate. Updated 14/9

A new clip of David Tennant in Des has been posted online. Updated 14/9

The first episode of Des premieres on ITV tonight. Updated 14/9

This Morning (which is on ITV from 10am to 12.30pm) will include a behind the scenes look at the filming of Des. Updated 14/9

MP3 of the interview with David Tennant on BBC Front Row about Des. Updated 12/9

David Tennant will be a guest on Front Row on BBC Radio Four tonight at 7pm to discuss playing serial killer Dennis Nilsen in Des. Updated 11/9

Financial Times gives Des five stars in its review.
The title of the review is 'David Tennant is menacing as a narcissistic serial killer in ITV's Des.' Updated 11/9

On Monday (14th September) This Morning will include a behind the scenes look at Des. Updated 11/9

Des will play at this years Zurich Film Festival and at Cologne Film Festival.
Des will screen at Kosmos in Lagerstrasse, Zurich on: Sunday 27th September at 1.15pm in Kosmos 4
Saturday 3rd October at 1pm in Kosmos 5
Des will screen at Cologne Film Festival on Tuesday 6th October from 6.30pm at Cineplex Filmpalast 5. Updated 11/9

The Guardian has an interview with David Tennant about Des which includes a quote from him "It's not impossible to imagine someone like Nilsen doing something similar today." Updated 10/9

The cover art for the DVD and Blu-ray in the UK for Des has been posted online. Updated 10/9

Radio Times has another new clip of David Tennant from Des. Updated 9/9

The Scottish Sun has a new clip of David Tennant from Des. Updated 9/9

The List has a four star review of 'compulsive' Des which includes the phrase 'Tennant is on fine form.' Updated 8/9

There are photos (of varying sizes) of David Tennant on the cover of several more television listings magazines today. Most include interviews inside about Des too:
TV Times
TV Choice
TV And Satellite week Updated 8/9

Des to be released on DVD and Blu-Ray in the UK on Monday 12th October. Updated 8/9

A new video of David Tennant from Des has been posted online. Updated 7/9

David Tennant on the cover of Radio Times

David Tennant is on the cover of the issue of Radio Times which is published tomorrow.
The magazine also contains an interview with him about Des.
The cover has been posted online. Updated 7/9

As well as the premiere of Des on ITV on Monday 14th to Wednesday 16th September, each episode will be repeated on the same channel each evening at around 11.45pm. Updated 6/9

Interview with David Tennant by The Times about Des.
A quote from David in the interview is "Des isn�t a thriller. This isn�t Silence of the Lambs. This isn�t a whodunnit. It�s a warning. It�s a salutary tale of what human beings are capable of." Updated 5/9

Another new photo of David Tennant from Des has been posted online. Updated 4/9

A new photo of David Tennant from Des has been posted online. Updated 4/9

Digital Spy has the first review of Des.
The comment about David is:
'David Tennant's performance is at the centre of the drama and will leave you captivated and unnerved in equal measure.'

Another new photo of David Tennant from the drama Des has been posted online. Updated 3/9

BT.com has a new interview with David Tennant where he says he first heard about the drama Des when he was filming the third series of Broadchurch in 2016.
The interview also includes a quote from David ""As a society we have to try to understand why this happened and how to not have it happen again." Updated 3/9

A slightly different new photo of David Tennant from Des has been posted online. Updated 3/9

A new trailer for Des has been posted online.
This was to announce that the drama will premiere in Australia on Tuesday 15th September. Updated 3/9

A new photo of David Tennant from Des. Updated 3/9

David Tennant from Des

The Sun has a new interview with David Tennant about Des and it says he even perfected his signature!
One quote from David in the article is "It's tricky to get the balance right - you don't want to slip into sensationalism."
The interview concludes with David saying "There is a story to be told about the victims and why people fall through the cracks of society. Plus, how Nilsen could murder so many men without being noticed." Updated 2/9

David Tennant to narrate a documentary titled The Real 'Des': The Dennis Nilsen Story.
The one hour documentary will premiere on ITV on Thursday 17th September at 9pm. Updated 2/9


August 2020
A slightly different new photo of David Tennant from Des (and cropped by us) has been posted online. Updated 31/8

Start date announced for Des: Monday 14th September.
The remaining two episodes will be broadcast on the following two nights that week (Tuesday 15th and Wednesday 16th). Updated 31/8

The Big Issue has a new interview with David Tennant to promote Des.
The interview has the title 'Lockdown has been a leveller.' Updated 31/8

A video of David Tennant's interview on ITV News last night about Des and returning to filming after lockdown has been posted online. Updated 29/8


An interview with David Tennant will be shown on ITV News tonight about Des.
A screenshot of David in the drama from the news has been posted online. Updated 28/8

A new photo of David Tennant from Des from The Telegraph interview has been posted online. Updated 28/8

David Tennant interview with The Telegraph about Des. Updated 28/8

Four new photos of David Tennant from ITV's forthcoming drama Des have been posted online. Updated 24/8

The trailer for Des with subtitles (which should play for those outside the UK who couldn't view the version on YouTube) has been posted online. Updated 22/8

The first trailer for Des has been added to YouTube. Updated 22/8


Total Film Magazine has an interview with David Tennant about Des. Updated 21/8

A photo from today's Des press panel (via Zoom) has been posted online. Updated 13/8

A new photo of David Tennant from Des has been posted online. Updated 13/8

Des has been confirmed to premiere on ITV in September.
The exact day/time has not been announced yet. Updated 13/8


July 2020
New photos of David Tennant from Des. Updated 30/7

All3Media has announced that broadcast deals for Des include Sundance Now for the Americas, Stan and TV New Zealand for Australasia and CMore for Scandinavia.
It was announced in April that Des will be broadcast on ITV in the UK in the autumn. Updated 16/7


May 2020
iNews has a lovely quote by Daniel Mays about filming Des:
"To sit opposite David Tennant and watch him work was spellbinding. I�ve only ever come out of a scene while acting twice: once on stage with Ben Whishaw in Mojo and once when watching David as Nilsen." Updated 14/5


April 2020
In an article in The Times today about shows delayed due to Coronavirus, it says that Des will be screened on ITV in the autumn (as planned). Updated 11/4


January 2020
The director of Des (Lewis Arnold) tweeted that filming on the drama has wrapped. Updated 26/1

David Tennant briefly features as Dennis Nilsen in Des in the new ITV Upcoming Dramas In 2020 trailer which has been posted online.
David's section starts at 10 seconds.
The video may not play worldwide. Updated 20/1


November 2019
Daniel Mays tweeted that today is the first day of Des filming. Updated 25/11

David Tennant as the serial killer Dennis Nilsen from the new ITV drama Des

The first photo of David Tennant as the serial killer Dennis Nilsen from the new ITV drama Des has been posted online. Updated 22/11

David Tennant to play Scottish serial killer Dennis Nilsen in a new ITV drama titled Des.
Also in the three episode drama will be Line Of Duty actor Daniel Mays as Detective Chief Inspector Peter Jay and Jason Watkins as Brian Masters who wrote a biography on Nilsen.
The drama will be told through the prism of three men: Dennis Nilsen, Detective Chief Inspector Peter Jay and biographer Brian Masters. The series will explore the personal and professional consequences of coming into contact with a man like Nilsen.
Des is scheduled to start filming soon and will air next year. Currently no plans have been announced whether the drama will be shown in any other countries.
David Tennant is one of the executive producers of the drama. Updated 22/11


David Tennant - Des


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