Des is a three part drama which follows the arrest and trial of serial killer Dennis Nilsen, known as Des.
Written by Luke Neal and created for TV by Luke Neal and Lewis Arnold, the drama is based on material from the book Killing for Company by Brian Masters, which focuses on one of the most infamous cases in UK criminal history, that of serial killer Dennis Nilsen.
Told through the prism of three men – Dennis Nilsen played by David Tennant, Detective Chief Inspector Peter Jay played by Daniel Mays and biographer Brian Masters played by Jason Watkins – the series will explore the personal and professional consequences of coming into contact with a man like Nilsen.
Additional cast include 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.
The show aired on ITV and became the biggest drama launch since Cleaning Up in 2019.
“His performance is riveting.” “Tennant brilliantly conveys Nilsen’s narcissism”
– The Telegraph 5*
“David Tennant portrayed serial killer Dennis Nilsen in what was a breathtaking and career-defining performance in Des”
– Daily Mail 5*
“First class performances by David Tennant, Daniel Mays and Jason Watkins… It feels as if Tennant was born to play this part” “Wisely the production team took the decision to include several snippets of archive footage-reminding riveted viewers that an all too true story lies behind this set of barnstorming performances”-
Daily Mirror 5*
“Tennant gave us a version of Nilsen that was both plausible and abominable” “Des casts a deadly spell.”
– Metro 5*
“Des is made to last. It has a confident script directed with a good sense of time and place.” “Although Tennant’s turn naturally draws the eye, there are fine performances from all the leads.”
The Independent 4*
“In the end, perhaps the greatest accolade that can be given this sensitive, finely worked piece is that Nilsen himself, attention-seeking narcissist though he was, would surely have hated it’
– The Guardian 4*
“Neal’s considered script, the restrained direction of Lewis Arnold and Tennant’s ability to remind viewers that this man was a predator who had toyed mercilessly with his victims.”
– iNews 4*
“There’s a lot to be praised in the drama’s accuracy too. Developed over five years by writer Luke Neal and director Lewis Arnold, the drama is incredibly faithful to the source material” “In one of the best performances in an impeccable career, the Good Omens star is both believable and captivating as Dennis Nilsen in every scene” “Des is not to be missed”
– Radio Times