Series 1 - Episode 2

Wednesday 9pm - 10pm Virgin Media Two
See Repeats
Sun 7 Mar, 12:55am - 1:55am Virgin Media Two


Dennis Nilsen (brilliant David Tennant) is in custody, chatting amicably and, chillingly, almost casually with detectives about the number of young men he might have murdered and dismembered in his London flat. He certainly can’t remember any of their names.

As this excellent, but of course very bleak drama continues (it ends tomorrow), DCI Peter Jay (Daniel Mays) interviews Nilsen about his crimes.

Nilsen offers explicit drawings of his victims (“His naked body fascinated me”) and tries to explain why he did what he did, which included propping up bodies in an armchair so they could “watch telly” together.

The story dominates every front page and news bulletin and attracts the interest of writer Brian Masters (Jason Watkins), who arranges to meet and talk to Nilsen in prison.

Meanwhile, the relationship between police officer and writer is strained. “Walk away,” Jay tells Masters.


Des withdraws his cooperation from the police just as Jay thinks they have what they need to convict him of all the murders. Instead, he begins confiding in Brian, leaving Jay faced with the challenge of having to deal with a criminal biographer for the first time in his career. Des's sessions with Brian give him the chance to analyse his own behaviour, leading him to make the shocking decision to plead not guilty in court.

Cast & Crew

Dennis Nilsen David Tennant
DCI Peter Jay Daniel Mays
Brian Masters Jason Watkins
DI Steve McCusker Barry Ward
DCS Geoff Chambers Ron Cook
DS Chris Healey Jay Simpson
DC Brian Lodge Ben Bailey Smith
Charlotte Proctor Bronagh Waugh
Linda Jay Faye McKeever
Allan Green QC Jamie Parker
Ivan Lawrence QC Pip Torrens
Carl Stottor Laurie Kynaston
Douglas Stewart Ross Anderson
Lesley Mead Chanel Cresswell
Professor Hardy Andrew Woodall
Russell Cavendish Silas Carson
Juan Oscar Garland
Mike Cattran Tony Way
Director Lewis Arnold
Executive Producer Luke Neal
Executive Producer Lewis Arnold
Executive Producer David Tennant
Executive Producer Charlie Pattinson
Executive Producer Elaine Pyke
Executive Producer Willow Grylls
Executive Producer Kim Varvell
Producer David Meanti
Writer Luke Neal
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