Des star Daniel Mays 'woke up screaming' from horrific Dennis Nilsen nightmare after 'really tough' time on ITV drama

DES' Daniel Mays 'woke up screaming' from a horrific Dennis Nilsen nightmare after a 'really, really tough' time on the ITV drama.

The 42-year-old actor plays DCI Peter Jay in the series, which focuses on the notorious serial killer, who murdered more than a dozen men at his London home from 1978 until 1983.

Dealing with a real life case meant Daniel had to do some research into the killings, discovering 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.

He would then eventually dismember them to dispose of, either by burning them on a bonfire or flushing bits down the toilet.

Speaking to NME, Daniel said: "When you’re preparing for a role like this, you have to delve into what happened and it was really, really tough.

"I woke my wife up screaming because I was having a nightmare that I was in an attic with Dennis Nilsen."

While his experience was tough, it was nothing compared to what the real life DCI Jay and his colleagues went through at the time.

Daniel said: "Their counselling was going down the pub and drinking copious amounts of alcohol, not opening up to their wives.

"Talking about your feelings wasn’t common for men of the 1980s, so the drama is also an amazing investigation into what it was like to police at that time too."

David Tennant plays Dennis in the drama, and Daniel previously praised his co-star for delivering such a convincing performance.

Daniel said: "I think David delivers an utterly spellbinding turn. It was eerie, he physically resembled him.

"When ITV released that first look image of him, I think everyone was unanimous in saying how much he looked like him.

"There are documentaries on Nilsen where you can learn about his characteristics, see him talk and move, and David really did embody that."

Des is available on ITV Player.

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