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Radio Times

Radio Times 12-18th September 2020

Get the same great content you know and love, from the UK’s biggest selling quality magazine. Every week: -> News and Views from broadcasting’s biggest names, best writers and brightest stars. -> Find unmissable entertainment with our roundup of the Best of the Week -> Stunning photo-shoots, red carpet reportage and exclusive behind-the-scenes pics. -> Guides to the best TV, film and radio each day. -> Film reviews from the film team including writer Andrew Collins. -> The best of iPlayer, Netflix and other catch-up and on-demand services. -> Comprehensive listings so you’ll never miss a show, and with handy links so you can jump to your desired day of the week. -> Puzzles, including crosswords, Egg Heads and Only Connect.

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in this issue

2 min.
a role to kill for…

THE PHRASE “BANALITY OF EVIL” was coined to describe the genocidal crimes of the Nazis. But it could be deployed to convey the double life of the serial killer Dennis Nilsen. For years Nilsen lived in a nondescript street in a north London suburb, travelling a few miles every day to a desk in a Jobcentre. A loner and an outsider, he made little impression on those who knew him as a lowly civil servant, beyond being described as “pompous” and “arrogant” by his colleagues. But by night he was a murderer, picking up lost and lonely men in London pubs, taking them home to his flat, where he killed them, flushing away the evidence, until a blocked drain led police to his door. In 1983 he was convicted of killing…

1 min.
this week 12—18 september 2020

ALISON STEPS UP… After 25 years at Radio Times, most of them as TV Editor, Alison Graham steps up this week to become our new Associate Editor. She will still be offering readers the benefit of her forthright opinion on the best — and the worst — programmes on TV every week, not least in her award-winning column. But she will also be contributing to the magazine in other ways, starting this week with a memorable interview with David Tennant. Read their encounter on page 8. WHAT I’M WATCHING… KATHERINE RYAN ‘I’ve watched everything in lockdown, says the comedian. “I loved I May Destroy You, which was great, and Mae Martin’s Channel 4 sitcom, Feel Good. I’ve watched a lot of Netflix, too, things like The Baby-Sitters Club and the documentary Tiger King. But…

3 min.
the bbc gets it right

THE NEW DIRECTOR-GENERAL of the BBC, Tim Davie, has quickly shown he means business. He hardly had time to try out his new desk before he gave the public a taste of what’s to come. Instead of hiding behind the decision of his predecessor, Lord Tony Hall, to break with tradition and allow the words of Rule, Britannia! to go unsung at this Saturday’s Last Night of the Proms, he promptly reversed it. Singers at the Royal Albert Hall, joined by many at home, will once again declare that “Britons never, never, never will be slaves”. ‘Critics, including powerful competitors, are sensing blood’ Having spent 30 years on the staff of the corporation, I’m naturally cautious about suggesting what else Mr Davie should do in his new job. For much of my…

1 min.
from the rt archive… 13—19 september 1997

WHAT WE WATCHED The death of Diana, Princess of Wales, was widely covered, with Polly Toynbee among those reflecting on what the future now held for the royal family. Her focus was on Prince William. “However much he hates the cameras, he will have to find a way to live with them,” she wrote. “Offering up the sacrifice of his televised image to that greedy burgeoning global media market is an unavoidable part of the job.” Meanwhile, BBC court correspondent Jennie Bond wrote of her friendship with the Princess: “She told me nearly everything she said in the Panorama interview, but I was bound by my word not to reveal anything.” WHAT YOU SAID Radio Times readers have always been a whip-smart bunch and Ray Slater of Solihull took aim at Cadfael, ITV’s…

8 min.
‘dennis nilsen was human, like us. he wasn’t from another planet’

Des Monday—Wednesday 9.00pm ITV ‘We didn’t want to titillate or make a horror movie, we wanted to gure out who this creature was’DAVID TENNANT IN THE OPENING episode of Des, a police officer approaches a pan on the stove in the seedy kitchen of a grim north London flat. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you, guv,” shouts an underling before the detective has a chance to lift the lid. Though we don’t see it, the pan contains a human head. The flat is at 23 Cranley Gardens in Muswell Hill, an address – like 10 Rillington Place and 25 Cromwell Street, homes of mass killers Reg Christie, and Fred and Rose West – that will live in infamy. The Cranley Gardens flat was the home of Dennis Nilsen, 37, a civil servant…

5 min.
‘i could not abandon him’

UNLIKE ITS SUBJECT, Des the TV drama is a class act, a three-hander between the murderer, the policeman who caught him and the man who wrote his story. Both the murderer and policeman are no longer with us, but the writer Brian Masters, who is played by Jason Watkins, is very much around. Now aged 81, Masters lives in London in a beautifully furnished house full of paintings, antiques, hardback books and crystal decanters. He greets me in a bespoke pinstripe suit, red socks, a Liberty floral tie and elegant leather slippers. This isn’t the sort of person you could imagine wanting to hang out with murderers. Why on earth was he so drawn to meet, interview and write about Dennis Nilsen? “It was front-page news and it was obviously going to…