Des: David Tennant is chilling as serial killer Dennis Nilsen

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David Tennant is chilling as serial killer and necrophile Dennis Nilsen in an exclusive clip from ITV drama Des.

The actor, 49, was sure to terrify with his emotionless expression and indifference to being seen by the press after he was charged with the murder of Steven Sinclair.

Opening with Dennis in holding at a police station, he watches apathetically as a detective tells him he will be ‘taken to Melrose Avenue where you will be identify the burial sites of other victims.’

Des EXCLUSIVE: David Tennant was chilling as he transformed into serial killer Dennis Nilsen and faced the press in a tense clip

Des EXCLUSIVE: David Tennant was chilling as he transformed into serial killer Dennis Nilsen and faced the press in a tense clip

When asked if he understands what is happening, he simply sighs and gives a resounding if dispassionate ‘yea’ in response.

As he gets ready to be taken away, another officer runs in to inform his colleagues that the press have gathered outside and have covered both exits.

Detective Chief Inspector Peter Jay (Daniel Mays) claims they can get a hood to put over his head, but Dennis instead insists that he be taken out without it.

‘No, I’ve got nothing to hide,’ he claims.

Emotionless: The actor was terrifying with his expressionless performance and indifference at being seen by the press after he was charged with the murder of Steven Sinclair

Emotionless: The actor was terrifying with his expressionless performance and indifference at being seen by the press after he was charged with the murder of Steven Sinclair

Cold killer: Opening with Dennis in holding at a police station, he watches apathetically as a detective tells him he will be made to show other burial sites to the police

Cold killer: Opening with Dennis in holding at a police station, he watches apathetically as a detective tells him he will be made to show other burial sites to the police

Dennis then looks on as members of the press take his photograph while he is led to a police van while handcuffed to other officers.

The head officer then addresses the crowd, saying: ‘On Wednesday morning officers were called to an address to investigate suspicious fragments found in a drain.

‘Upon analysis they proved to be human and an investigation was opened, we have now charged a man by the name of Dennis Nilsen with murder.’

Apathetic: As he gets ready to be taken away an officer runs in to inform his colleagues the press have gathered outside but Dennis claims he 'has nothing to hide' and wants to be seen

Apathetic: As he gets ready to be taken away an officer runs in to inform his colleagues the press have gathered outside but Dennis claims he ‘has nothing to hide’ and wants to be seen

Investigation: The head officer then addresses the crowd, saying they had charged Dennis with murder after bone fragments were found in drains

Investigation: The head officer then addresses the crowd, saying they had charged Dennis with murder after bone fragments were found in drains

When asked how many people Dennis may have murdered the officer doesn’t offer a figure, but does stipulate that he has been attacking men.

After revealing the killings have been going on for five years, he is questioned by a journalist on why the police didn’t know sooner about Dennis’ activities.

‘We will be investigating that at the relevant time, that’s all,’ he concludes, as Dennis is driven away with DCI Jay and other officers. 

Haunting: Described as a loner, Nilson became known as the Muswell Hill Murderer, as he committed his later murders in the Muswell Hill district of North London (pictured)

Haunting: Described as a loner, Nilson became known as the Muswell Hill Murderer, as he committed his later murders in the Muswell Hill district of North London (pictured)

Written by Luke Neal, Des is based on material from Killing For Company, which included conversations with twisted Nilson, whose nickname was Des.  

The murders all took place in the two North London addresses in which former civil servant Nilsen resided between 1978 and 1983.

Described as a loner, he became known as the Muswell Hill Murderer, as he committed his later murders in the Muswell Hill district of North London.  

Evil: The murders all took place in the two North London addresses in which Nilsen resided between 1978 and 1983 (pictured 1983 at Highgate Magistrates Court)

Evil: The murders all took place in the two North London addresses in which Nilsen resided between 1978 and 1983 (pictured 1983 at Highgate Magistrates Court)

Most of Nilsen’s victims were homosexual or homeless men who he would pick up in bars across London or on the street.

After inviting them to his home, Nilsen would ply his victims with food and alcohol before killing them. His preferred method was strangulation.

Once dead, he dismembered their bodies by dissecting them in his house. In his first address, Melrose Avenue, he buried their remains in the garden. In Cranley Gardens however he was forced to take other measures.  

Once arrested he told police how he boiled the heads of his victims in a large cooking pot to dispose of their brains.

Serial killer: Most of Nilsen's victims were homosexual or homeless men who he would pick up in bars across London or on the street before strangling them to death

Serial killer: Most of Nilsen’s victims were homosexual or homeless men who he would pick up in bars across London or on the street before strangling them to death

He would cut up the rest of their bodies and store them in plastic bin bags at the property. When the stench of their rotting corpses became stronger, he tried to flush their limbs down the toilet and drains.

This caused a large blockage in the pipes. Seemingly oblivious to risk, Nilsen audaciously complained to a waste company about the blockage and asked for it to be resolved because he and other residents were suffering as a result.

When a Dyno-Rod worker arrived at the property in 1983 to unblock them, he discovered what appeared to be flesh and fragments of bone when he opened a drain cover outside the property.

Shocking: After inviting them to his home, Nilsen would ply his victims with food and alcohol before killing them. His preferred method was strangulation (pictured 1983)

Shocking: After inviting them to his home, Nilsen would ply his victims with food and alcohol before killing them. His preferred method was strangulation (pictured 1983)

The following day, after inspecting another section of pipe, he and his supervisor discovered what they thought were bones of a human hand. 

They alerted police who arrested Nilsen as he returned home from work. While in custody he admitted to killing at least 15 people.  

A controversial Central TV documentary Murder in Mind featured extracts from an interview Nilsen gave in Albany Prison, Isle of Wight, in 1993.

Killer: He was convicted of six counts of murder and two of attempted murder

Killer: He was convicted of six counts of murder and two of attempted murder

Describing how he liked to dress the bodies in Y-Fronts and vest, then undress them, he said he enjoyed the feeling of power when he carried their limp bodies.

He said he was physically sick after cutting the innards from some of his victims to tackle ‘the smell problem’.

‘In the end it was when there were two or three bodies under the floorboards that come summer it got hot and I knew there would be a smell problem,’ he said.

‘I knew I had to deal with the smell problem. I thought ‘What would cause the smell more than anything else?’

‘I came to the conclusion it was the innards, the softer parts of the body, the organs, things like that.

‘On a weekend I pulled up the floorboards. I found it totally unpleasant. I got blinding drunk so I could face it.

‘I started dissection on the kitchen floor. I would then go and be sick outside in the garden.’     

He was convicted of six counts of murder and two of attempted murder and jailed for life in 1983, with a recommendation he serve a minimum of 25 years.     

He died in prison on 12 May 2018 at the age of 72.

Sentence: Nilsen (pictured in 1983) was jailed for life in 1983, with a recommendation he serve a minimum of 25 years. He died in prison on 12 May 2018 at the age of 72

Sentence: Nilsen (pictured in 1983) was jailed for life in 1983, with a recommendation he serve a minimum of 25 years. He died in prison on 12 May 2018 at the age of 72

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