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Netflix to produce true-crime documentary based on Dennis Nilsen’s posthumously published autobiography

David Tennant played Nilsen in ITV drama Des last year

Isobel Lewis
Wednesday 27 January 2021 16:20 GMT
Des trailer starring David Tennant

Netflix is producing a true-crime documentary about the Scottish serial killer Dennis Nilsen.

Nilsen, who was known as the Muswell Hill Murderer, killed at least 12 young men and boys between the years 1978 and 1983. He was jailed for life in 1983 and died in prison in 2018.

However, his autobiography, The History of a Drowning Boy, was published posthumously last week (21 January), in which Nilsen confessed to three more attacks.

While the book was criticised by the family of Nilsen’s victims, Netflix is now working on a feature-length documentary based on the autobiography, Deadline reports.

It will be directed by Michael Harte, who worked as an editor onThree Identical Strangers and Netflix’s Don’t F*** With Cats.

Nilsen died in prison in 2018 (Rex Features)

Alongside the book, the team will also use Nilsen’s personal archive and interviews with the victims’ family members, survivors, police and journalists who covered the cases.

Many of Nilsen’s victims were homeless and gay, with the murderer luring them back to his flat, where he would kill them and sit with their bodies before dismembering them. He performed sex acts on some of their corpses.

His crimes were only uncovered in 1983 when a drain outside his home in Cranley Gardens, Muswell Hill, became blocked by the human remains he had tried to flush away and a plumber was called to clear them.

Nilsen’s story was dramatised in September in ITV drama Des, in which David Tennant played the Scottish serial killer.

The three-part series was well received, with viewers singling out Tennant’s “blood-curdling” performance as Nilsen.

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