Is Des on ITV based on a true story?'

ITV's grim drama Des, starring David Tennant, tells the story of prolific serial killer Dennis Nilsen.

Although the ITV series may seem too gruesome to be true it is, in fact, all based on real events.

Is Des based on a true story?

Yes, ITV’s new three-part series tells the story of one of the UK's most notorious serial killers, Dennis Nilsen.

To many, he might be better known to many as the Muswell Hill Murderer, after the area in North London where he committed most of his crimes.

ITV's Des will tell the horrific story through Dennis Nilsen himself, DCI Peter Jay and biographer Brian Masters.

Nilsen, who killed 15 men in the 1970s and 80s, was also known as the "kindly killer".

He was a civil servant working for Manpower Services Commission in job centres around London.

Nilsen frequented London pubs targeting men, who were often homeless, and chatting to them before luring them back to his flat where he drowned or strangled them.

The twisted killer would then often sit with their bodies for days.

He would often commit necrophilic acts on their bodies, then chopped up the bodies and burn, boil or bury the pieces.

His first victim, Stephen Holmes, was only 14 years old. 

Dennis was only caught when plumbers found human remains blocking the drain of his London flat.

Nilsen then confessed to murdering “15 or 16” young men, becoming the UK’s second most prolific murderer after Harold Shipman.

He served his life sentence at maximum security HMP Full Sutton in Yorkshire for 35 years before he died.

Who were Dennis Nilsen's victims?

Although Nilsen claimed to have murdered at least 15 people, he was convicted of the murders of six men and boys.

They were: Kenneth James Ockenden, Martyn Brandon Duffey, William David Sutherland, Malcolm Barlow, John Peter Howlett and Stephen Neil Sinclair.

Many of his victims were homeless or forgotten by society, meaning identification was especially tricky.

Police searches of his two homes found more than 1,000 pieces of flesh and bone.

Nilsen himself did not know who many of his victims were.

Even the ages of most of his victims were unknown. We know that his first victim Stephen Dean Holmes was 14 and another, Martyn Duffey, was 16.

When does Des start on ITV?

New ITV drama Des kicks off TONIGHT (September 14, 2020)

You can catch it from 9pm on ITV.

Des is written by Luke Neal and Kelly Jones.

It is based on material from the book Killing For Company by Brian Masters.

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