David Tennant To Play Necrophiliac Serial Killer Dennis Nilsen In New Drama
The first look at David Tennant’s next role has been unveiled, and it seems like the Doctor Who star has undergone a remarkable transformation for it.
Between 1978 and 1983, Nilsen murdered at least 12 young boys and men in London. He was jailed for life in November 1983, and died aged 72 from pulmonary embolism and retroperitoneal haemorrhage, linked to a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm.
The first image from the upcoming drama shows Tennant looking uncannily like Nilsen, in what appears to be a recreation of his police mugshot. The three-part series also stars Jason Watkins as Brian Masters, who wrote the book Killing For Company, which details Nilsen’s horrific murders.
Over a period of four years, Nilsen is known to have killed at least 12 people, having initially confessed to killing 15 and attempting to kill seven others. Most of Nilsen’s victims were homeless or homosexual men, tempted to his flat by the promise of alcohol and shelter.
Nilsen became known as the Muswell Hill murderer, due to the address of one of his apartments where the murders took place – one in Melrose Avenue and one in Cranley Gardens – in north London.
After luring his victims to his home, Nilsen would usually give them food and alcohol before strangling them, often to death, or sometimes to unconsciousness before drowning them in the sink or bath.
Nilsen would then apparently sit the corpses in his armchair while he watched TV, drank and performed various sexual acts. Keeping the bodies under his floorboards for days, weeks or even months, Nilsen would gradually dismember the bodies, flushing parts down the toilet and depositing organs outside. His crimes were uncovered when a plumber found human remains in an outdoor drain of the apartment building.
The ITV drama is said to start just as Nilsen is arrested, focusing on the investigation and the police officers who had to identify Nilsen’s victims.
Polly Hill, head of ITV drama, 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.
While 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.
The currently untitled series is set to air on ITV next year.
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