“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.”
David Tennant is one of the finest actors of his generation. But the 49-year-old, whose career went stratospheric with Doctor Who, is also smart, engaged and very happy to talk politics.
The actor talks to The Big Issue ahead of his latest role, in which he had to strip away all the charm and likeability he has displayed throughout his career to play Dennis Nilsen, one of the most notorious murderers in British history.
This took place under Thatcher, who said there was no such thing as society, didn’t she? And that’s the problem
Des, which airs on consecutive nights on ITV from 14-16 September, is set to be one of the most watched shows of the year – and it foregrounds key questions around the Nilsen case: namely, how was this man able to get away with killing so many vulnerable – and often homeless – young men for so long?
Tennant says: “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.