David Tennant: Lockdown has been a leveller

David Tennant has criticised what he called an “alarming right-wing government” and said lockdown has been a “leveller”.

The actor, 49, drew parallels with the late 1970s and early 80s setting of his new drama Des, in which he plays serial killer Dennis Nilsen.

He told the Big Issue magazine: “If we’re about to plunge into this recession, the likes of which we have never known, then that will expose all the flaws in our society.

“And I don’t feel comforted by the fact that we’ve got, just like in 1979, a rather alarming right-wing government again. The echoes are pretty worrying.”

He said: “The world through which Dennis Nilsen walked and wreaked his havoc – I think we’re closer to it now than we have been for a long time.

“We’ve got to be alert to that as a society. We’ve got to be very aware that there are dangers and that there are people who are going to be more vulnerable than they should be in the coming months….

“As a society, we have to find ways of providing resources for helping people.”

While calling for more “kindness” for those who are vulnerable, the Scottish star also said that “this lockdown has been a great leveller”.

Brand new true crime drama #Des, starring David Tennant, @DanielMays9 and @Jason__Watkins.

Coming this September to @ITV and @ITVHub. #AllNewITVpic.twitter.com/HrqeUyGm2p

— ITV (@ITV) August 23, 2020

“Suddenly everyone’s been in the same boat because you can’t escape a virus by being well off. It brings us all together,” he said.

“And hopefully that allows us all to have a better understanding of the equality of the individual, which in turn allows us to just think with a bit more kindness and understanding than we’ve been famous for as a society up to now.”

Discussing his new drama, he said the aim is “memorialising the victims” and not to give the killer “control of the narrative.”

“This is about actual people who lost their lives, and this is about a failure of society,” he said of the drama.

And he added: “It’s important we understand that he was one of us. We are all the same animal that Dennis Nilsen was…

“It’s not a sort of horror movie where Freddy Krueger is something from another dark dimension. Nilsen walked amongst us and therefore we as a society are responsible for him.”

He said of the ITV drama: “Des is telling a story about a London that was riven with homelessness and poverty and joblessness, and people falling through the cracks in society, which feels increasingly like the society we’re back in. This took place under Thatcher, who said there was no such thing as society, didn’t she? And that’s the problem.

“As long as there’s no such thing as society, then we don’t have a collective responsibility for each other. I’m not saying we will ever be able to protect everyone, but there have to be safety nets. There have to be.”

The full interview is in the Big Issue magazine, which is sold by vendors and also available as an app or online.