Luke Neal

Kelly Jones

Lewis Arnold
David Meanti
Executive Producers

Willow Grylls

Kim Varvell

Charlie Pattinson

Elaine Pyke

Luke Neal

Lewis Arnold

David Tennant


David Tennant, Daniel Mays, Jason Watkins, Barry Ward, Ron Cook, Jay Simpson, Ben Bailey Smith, Bronagh Waugh


Radio Times Award – Winner - Best Drama

BPG Awards – Winner - Best Actor (David Tennant)

National Television Awards – Winner – Drama Performance (David Tennant)

DES is a dramatization of the arrest and trial of serial killer Dennis Nilsen, portrayed by David Tennant.

Nilsen preyed on young men in London until 9th February 1983, when Detective Chief Inspector Peter Jay was called to investigate. Daniel Mays plays Jay, with BAFTA Award winner Jason Watkins as writer Brian Masters, whose book ’Killing for Company’ was constructed around interviews with Nilsen after his arrest.

DES is a true-crime drama focusing on one of the most infamous criminal cases in UK history – DENNIS NILSEN. Known as the ‘kindly killer’, Nilsen was a local civil servant who spent five years murdering boys and young men he met on the streets of Soho from 1978 to 1983.

When he was finally caught on 9 February 1983, Nilsen had murdered a total of fifteen men over a period of five years, making him Britain’s most prolific serial killer of the time.

After his arrest, Nilsen was astonishing in his honesty: admitting outright to all fifteen murders in the police car outside his flat. But infuriatingly for the investigating detectives, he couldn’t remember any of his victims’ names. With no apparent motive, inconclusive forensic evidence and most of Nilsen’s victims living off-grid, the police started the biggest manhunt investigation in UK history. This time not for the murderer, but for the murdered.

The story is told through the prism of three isolated men - a detective, a biographer, and Nilsen himself.

Can we ever really understand the mind of a psychopathic killer? And, if we try, what price do we pay?

"This sensitive, finely worked drama shows us the unrelentingly bleak reality of the monstrous narcissist Dennis Nilsen’s macabre murders"
The Guardian
"ITV’s new true crime series has a confident script and fine performances from Tennant, Daniel Mays and Jason Watkins.”
The Independent
"The “Doctor Who” and “Broadchurch” star plays the real-life serial killer Dennis Nilsen in a mini-series that asks why rather than showing how"
New York Times
"The first episode was watched by an average audience of 5.4 million, becoming ITV's biggest drama debut since 2019's Cleaning Up"
Digital Spy
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The Times