'Des' drama starring David Tennant sees massive Twitter reponse

Daniel Mays with David Tennant in ITV's Des.
Daniel Mays with David Tennant in ITV's Des. (Image credit: ITV)

The opening episode of Des starring David Tennant is reported by ITV to have “peaked with 5.9m and was watched by almost a third of all viewers (32 percent) across its slot.”

The three-part series stars David Tennant as real-life serial killer Dennis "Des" Nilsen. It'll premiere in the United States on Oct. 15 on Sundance Now.

Viewers are macabrely mesmerized by likable actor Tennant’s chilling portrayal of Nilsen, with many taking to Twitter to praise the actor best known for his roles in Doctor Who, Broadchurch and There She Goes, which is up for a TV Times Favourite Comedy Award this year. His role in Des is also up for Favourite Actor.

It was widely agreed that David Tennant looks unnervingly like the killer he’s portraying.

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The first episode opened with Nilsen confessing to killing up to 16 young men to DCI Peter Jay, played by Daniel Mays, in an unsettlingly matter-of-fact manner. Viewers described Tennant’s performance as "blood curdling."

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While many viewers may never look at David Tennant in the same way again after witnessing his stunningly dark performance as serial killer Dennis Nilsen, there was near-universal agreement that his acting skills were "superb."

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The three-part series continued on ITV at 9pm on Tuesday, with the second episode focusing further on Dennis ‘Des’ Nilsen’s shocking police interviews with DCI Peter Jay. Daniel Mays' performance has also gained much-deserved praise.

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Tonight's finale focuses on the trial and getting justice for Nilsen's victims. Daniel Mays personally endorses the final two episodes.

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If you agree David Tennant’s chilling performance in Des is award-worthy, or think family comedy There She Goes deserves a gong cast your votes in the TV Times Award 2020.

Elaine Reilly
Writer for TV Times, What’s On TV, TV & Satellite Week and What To Watch

With twenty years of experience as an entertainment journalist, Elaine writes for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and www.whattowatch.com covering a variety of programs from gardening and wildlife to documentaries and drama.


As well as active involvement in the WTW family’s social media accounts, she has been known to get chatty on the red carpet and wander into the odd podcast. 

After a day of previewing TV, writing about TV and interviewing TV stars, Elaine likes nothing than to relax… by watching TV.