Des viewers distracted by Dennis Nilsen's chain-smoking – moaning they're 'short of breath' from the constant haze

DES viewers have been left distracted by Dennis Nilsen's chain-smoking – moaning they've been left "short of breath" from the constant haze.

The ITV drama follows the case of serial killer Dennis, who murdered more than a dozen men at his London home from 1978 until 1983.

Dennis is played by David Tennant in the drama, while Daniel Mays plays the detective in charge of his case – DCI Jay – and Jason Watkins stars as Dennis' biographer Brian Masters.

All three characters smoke like chimneys throughout the series, and it hasn't gone unnoticed by viewers.

Taking to Twitter, one wrote: "Loved Des but although I’m sure it’s realistic I am finding all the smoking really distracting."

Another tweeted: "‘Just watching all the smoking in Des on ITV is making me short of breath."

A third added: "I think I got bronchitis from second-hand smoking just from all the cigarettes in Des."

Smoking was a lot more prevalent in the 1980s than it is today, and actor Daniel admitted having to puff away on so many herbal cigarettes during filming was difficult.

He told ITV: "They were those horrible herbal things. When I met Peter’s widow, she said he was on 50-60 cigarettes a day so he was a really, really heavy smoker.

"One can imagine he was smoking even more under the pressures of that police investigation and with the eyes of the media on him.

"That was definitely a conscious choice I made to not be afraid of smoking on screen.

"Lewis, the director, made me this mock award at the end of Filming which says ‘the most cigarettes smoked on screen goes to Danny Mays’, which I found very funny."

Des continues tonight at 9pm on ITV.

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