Des’ David Tennant admits he still can’t make sense of serial killer Dennis Nilsen – despite months of research

DES’ David Tennant has admitted he still can’t make sense of serial killer Dennis Nilsen – despite months of research for his new ITV drama.

The 49-year-old actor portrays the infamous serial killer in the new series, which begins with Dennis confessing to killing more than a dozen men at his home between 1978 and 1983.

Dennis would befriend the men and offer them food or lodgings, before strangling or drowning them and then carrying out despicable acts with the corpses and then eventually dismembering them to dispose of, either by burning them on a bonfire or flushing bits down the toilet.

Despite having a wealth of material to watch and read as part of his research into the killer, David admits he still has no idea what drove him to commit such sick crimes.

Speaking to The Sun Online and other media at a Q&A about the series, he said: "I don’t want to be too definitive. Dennis always knew, if he didn’t he would change his mind. There were often two things going on at once.

"There were elements of preparation that he had to get ready for luring people back into his flat.


I think it is very difficult because we will never know for certain.

"I continue to change my mind about what his motivations were. He remains an enigma and all we can do is try and tell these stories to try and make sense of it.

"I feel like moments to moments I tried to understand, it was hard to connect the dots.

"He was an expert in self justification. He wrote and wrote a biography and endless portion jotters full of explanations and self righteous indignation.

"He talks about how guilty he feels at times but there is no consistency to it."

He continued: "So you have to try and not present easy solutions to what contributes to an individual like that, but try to make as much sense as he ever did. He had a strong sense of his own righteousness."

Des begins on Monday, September 14 at 9pm on ITV.

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