Des is a new ITV docu-series directed by Lewis Arnold and stars Scottish actor David Tennant as the infamous Dennis Nielsen. Other major cast members include Jason Watkins as Brian Masters, Daniel Jays as Peter Jay and Ron Cook as DSI Geoff Chambers. It tells the story of Muswell High Murderer (Dennis Nielsen) who killed several young men in the 1980s and went uncaught for a long time. The murders were all done in London.
Des filming locations, especially Nielsen's house, is so similar to the real deal that actors Jason Watkins and Daniels May found it disturbing and terrifying.
The choice of Des shooting locations was difficult as the story took place in 1983 London but the shoot had to be done. The locations also had to be identical to the original to tell the story honestly. According to a report by The Scottish Sun, halls and corridors of the Old Bailey was the only live location that was part of the real case in 1983. These scenes are shown in the second and third episode of the series.
Dennis Nielsen is known as the Muswell High Murderer as the second half of his murders took place at his residence in the Muswell High district. The first half of the victims were killed at his Cricklewood residence. Des filming locations couldn't include the actual houses where the murders took place. But the production team was able to shoot the scenes shown in the flats at a studio.
Des filming locations outside Dennis Nielsen's Cranley Gardens house were shot at another house in the same area since the architecture is similar. The shooting for his other house at Melrose Avenue was done in a residence at Watford. Nielsen spent the time awaiting his trial at HM Prison Full Sutton, but for the series, the shoot was done at Holloway Prison.
Nielsen spent the later years of his imprisonment at Full Sutton maximum security prison in Yorkshire, which closed down in 2013. For the series, shooting for this scene was done at HMP Shepton Mallet in Somerset.
The series is based on a book written by Brian Masters, called Killing for Company. David Tennant has been praised for his acting in the series, as it wasn't easy to tell the story of UK's second most prolific murderer. Des series review also includes the unnerving resemblance of even the wallpaper in the house to furniture, between the original location and the set up in the show.
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