Netflix is taking a fresh look at the Dennis Nilsen case with its new documentary Memories of a Murderer: The Nilsen Tapes – a one-off film featuring audio from cassettes recorded by the serial killer in prison.


The unsettling documentary is the latest TV project to explore the crimes of Nilsen, who admitted killing at least 15 people but was convicted of the murders of six men, following ITV drama Des starring David Tennant.

While the documentary features a number of interviews with those connected to the case, from police officers and journalists to families of Nilsen's victims, the film is missing testimonials from two people who were featured heavily in ITV's drama – Nilsen's biographer Brian Masters and the police officer leading his investigation, Peter Jay.

Read on to find out why Brian Masters and Peter Jay don't feature in Memories of a Murderer: The Nilsen Tapes.

Why doesn't Brian Masters feature in Memories of a Murderer?

Brian Masters
Brian Masters Getty

Brian Masters is arguably best known for interviewing Dennis Nilsen in prison and writing his biography, with the writer being played by Jason Watkins in ITV's Des and featuring heavily.

However, Brian Masters doesn't feature as a talking head in Netflix's Memories of a Murderer: The Nilsen Tapes, despite spending a significant amount of time speaking to the serial killer himself.

Speaking to in an exclusive interview, the documentary's director Michael Harte explained why he chose not to include Masters.

"There was interest. We spoke to him initially and there was interest but you know, Brian Masters' story is very much about why Nielsen did what he did. His book was very very good but our story was– I needed it to be different. I didn't want to go down that route.

"Once I started to tell that side of the story, we're very much trying to understand the mind of Dennis Nilsen which I didn't want to do, because I wanted to figure out why he got away with this for so long.

More like this

"So I felt that if we brought Masters in, it becomes a slightly– it would still be a very interesting film but we're trying to tell a different story here. And that story had been told and has been told many times."

Why doesn't Peter Jay feature in Memories of a Murderer?

While there are interviews with many of the police officers who were involved in Dennis Nilsen's case, Peter Jay – who was a key figure in the investigation – was not featured as he passed away in 2018 at the age of 79.

In ITV's Des, he was played by Daniel Mays and his son, Simon Jay, assisted in the production of the true crime drama.

Read on... to find out who Ivan Lawrence is and why he is featured in the documentary.


Memories of a Murderer: The Nilsen Tapes is available to stream on Netflix. Looking for something else to watch? Check out out the best Netflix documentaries. You can also plan your viewing with our TV Guide or visit our dedicated Documentaries hub for the latest news.