Des boss cut Dennis Nilsen's victims out of drama fearing 'salacious' scenes would distract from killer's 'human cost'

DES' writer has revealed he cut Dennis Nilsen's victims out of the drama because he feared 'salacious' scenes would distract from the killer's 'human cost'.

The new ITV drama sees David Tennant play the notorious serial killer, who murdered more than a dozen men at his London home from 1978 until 1983.

The series focuses on three men – Dennis, DCI Peter Jay, the detective tasked with getting justice for Dennis' victims, and Brian Masters, who became the killer's biographer.

Now writer Luke Neal has revealed the reason for focusing on them, and not on the men murdered by Dennis.

Speaking at a Q&A with The Sun Online and other media, he said: "I think very early on we knew that we didn’t want to show any of the crimes because in our view those poor men that went home with Dennis Nilsen.

"The only thing they did was go home with someone they might from the pub that night. They didn’t need to be shown on a tv drama.

"We wanted to tell another story, which is the human cost of Dennis Nilsen.

"What comes after he is caught and the people that have to investigate in individual ways to get answers for the five years."

Thankfully, the show's director Lewis Arnold was in total agreement, with Luke adding: "As soon as I met Lewis, we knew that we didn’t want to give a salacious view of these events."

Lewis continued: "I think that is partly because David Nilsen was the main focus and he was there during those events.

"You can’t trust this man who has changed this narrative on multiple occasions. You can’t trust the events themselves anyways."

Dennis would befriend the men and offer them food or lodgings, before strangling or drowning them and then carrying out despicable acts with the corpses and then eventually dismembering them to dispose of, either by burning them on a bonfire or flushing bits down the toilet.

The nature of his sick crimes means Luke had to handle the script and storytelling with care so as not to bring any further distress to the families of the murdered men.

Luke said: "It was a very difficult balance and we approached everybody before we started filming. You don't want to intrude on people.

"We did speak to some of the victims' families and for those who didn't, we respected their privacy."

Des begins on Monday, September 14 at 9pm on ITV.

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