First look at David Tennant as Dennis Nilsen, and people can't cope with the chilling likeness
David Tennant has been transformed into serial killer Dennis Nilsen for a new drama series, and fans of the actor are finding the likeness uncanny.
The forthcoming ITV drama Des tells the story of Nilsen, one of Britain’s most notorious serial killers, with the former Doctor in the lead role.
ITV’s three-parter may only just be at the commissioning stage so far, but Broadchurch star Tennant has already been trying out his Nilsen look – and the results are spine-chilling.
A photo released alongside the casting announcement shows the actor in a large pair of glasses and a blue shirt with his hair swept into a side parting, which would all be normal enough if it weren’t for his strong resemblance to the murderer.
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People took to Twitter to express how uncomfortable the shot made them feel.
Forget Michael Sheen’s uncanny transformation into Chris Tarrant, David Tennant as Dennis Nilsen is the hipster’s choice pic.twitter.com/RpgDUu1o3W
— Nooruddean (@BeardedGenius) November 24, 2019
The further into Dennis Nilsen's wikipedia I read, the more concerned I grow about what exactly this show will look like... #DavidTennant
— lexie (@lexieconextreme) November 23, 2019
David Tennant looks mad as serial killer Dennis Nilsen this is gonna be on my anticipated list pic.twitter.com/EWLdozxcHX
— the Will to live (@W_Anthony2) November 24, 2019
Extremely conflicted feelings about David Tennant (who is fit) looking like my dad (who is dead) while portraying Dennis Nilsen (who murdered and dismembered 12-15 young men). pic.twitter.com/wVNxtlVzja
— Medium Driis (@driscolltheque) November 23, 2019
However, not everyone thought the biggest likeness was between Tennant and Nilsen...
David Tennant as necrophiliac serial killer: Dennis Nilsen ... or Robert Peston? pic.twitter.com/IiBcwgter3
— Ben Cogan (@BeCoMeCast) November 23, 2019
Nilsen murdered young men and boys at his London flat between 1978 and 1983, but went undetected for five years until DCI Peter Jay was called to 23 Cranley Gardens on 9 February, 1983, to investigate reports of fragments of human flesh and bones clogging the drains.
Detectives then realised they had a serial killer on their hands, and Nilsen went on to be convicted of six counts of murder and two of attempted murder at the Old Bailey.
He was sentenced to life in prison, which was replaced by a whole life tariff in 1994. He died in May 2018.
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The story is told through three men – DCI Jay, biographer Brian Masters, and Nilsen himself.
Joining Tennant at the head of the cast are Line of Duty star Daniel Mays as DCI Jay and The Crown’s Jason Watkins as Masters, who will represent the personal and professional consequences of coming into contact with a man like Nilsen.
Des is expected to air on ITV in 2020.