Robert Jackman

Serial killers on screen: from Nilsen to The Night Stalker

  • From Spectator Life
David Tennant plays Dennis Nilsen in ITV dramatisation Des (Image: ITV)

As the success of The Serpent and The Pembrokeshire Murders shows, many of us remain oddly fascinated by serial killers. But for all its popularity, the serial killer format can be tricky to get right – with many coming across as distasteful, clichéd or overly sensationalised. Here are eight recent shows – both dramas and documentaries – that strike the right balance: 

Des,  ITV Player 

ITV’s gripping portrayal of the cold and calculating Dennis Nilsen (known in the red top press as the Muswell Hill Murderer) flips the format on its head by starting with the last thing you’d expect: a confession.

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