Louis Theroux documentaries



Louis Theroux is a BAFTA-winning and Emmy-nominated British television journalist best known for the BBC series Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends and When Louis Met…  His low-key but tenacious style elicits candid and controversial responses, disarming even the most difficult of interviewees – from tough-talking neo-Nazis to religious recluses, big game hunters to compulsive gamblers.
The son of author Paul Theroux, he studied at Oxford and went on to become a writer for the American satirical magazine Spy. His big break in television came when he signed on as a correspondent for Michael Moore’s series TV Nation.
Beginning with Weird Weekends, which premiered in 1998, Theroux established a reputation as a maverick reporter with a knack for burrowing deep into unusual and often hidden subcultures, from survivalists to white supremacists. His willingness to immerse himself in these worlds has extended to the point of accepting a (fully clothed) walk-on part in a gay skin flick while investigating the San Fernando Valley porn industry, and undergoing liposuction for his recent documentary special on plastic surgery.
British television personality Jimmy Savile, one of the public figures unceremoniously skewered on Theroux’s celebrity profile series When Louis Met…, once described him as “the pirhana fish of interviewers.” Tatler magazine ranked him seventh on their 2001 list of Britain’s hottest bachelors – ahead of singer Robbie Williams and actor Joseph Fiennes.
“I’m constantly surprised by how humane instincts flourish in the darkest places, and also shocked by people’s willingness to hurt one another …” – Louis Theroux
Louis and the Nazis
First aired – 21 December 2003
Louis gets to grips with the white supremacist and neo-Nazi movement, living among racist people whose world views are among the most abhorrent conceivable. He meets a man deemed the most dangerous racist in America, Tom Metzger, who was a grand dragon of the KKK in the 70’s, a congressional candidate, and now the leader of a white resistance group. Among others, he meets a mother who pushes her world view on her two 11 year old daughters who regularly sing at skinhead rallies and are seen singing racist songs during an awkward car journey.
Porn
First aired 29 January 1998
Louis finds out there are fewer male porn performers on the planet than there is astronauts, while on a quest to investigate the American porn film industry, from the point of view of a man in the business. While normally he would be there purely as a journalist, in this episode he gets in relatively deeply with groups that he meets, and in the industry itself, even being offered a part in a porn film. He enrolls in a ‘talent’ agency, and is invited on set during the filming of porn films to find out first-hand about how “easy” it is.
Law and Disorder
First aired – 30 November 2008
‘Law and Disorder in Philadelphia’ and ‘Law and Disorder in Johannesburg’ make up the 2008 Law and Disorder specials, where Louis travels to areas of the world that are plagued with crime and trouble. He rides around with a special policing unit in the city of Philadelphia, and experiences the horrors and threats of gun crime and shootings as they take on the so-called “War on Drugs”. During the episode he speaks to various people who have been arrested by the police for possession of a gun, drug dealers, addicts and even a drug lord.
Behind bars
First aired – 13 January 2008
In one of my favorite documentaries of his, Louis spends a few weeks in San Quentin prison in San Francisco, one of America’s toughest prisons and home to ‘gangbangers’, rapists and murderers. Louis focuses on a group of prisoners, though not in as much detail as some subjects in his other films. These include the guards, a gang member called ‘Playboy Nolan’ and a man called ‘David Silver’ who is serving 500 years plus 11 life sentences. Throughout the film, the fact that Louis is surrounded by murderers and rapists all the time, not just while in the yard or eating with them, is surreal
Most Hated Family in America
First aired – 1 April 2007
Louis Theroux, himself, stated in an interview after finishing this documentary that the Phelps family, (the family at the heart of this film), were the most extreme people he had ever met. Despite this, however, they were very kind, articulate and, especially the younger members, pleasant. The Phelps family, which is headed by Fred Phelps, run the ‘Westboro Baptist Church’ in Kansas – a hate group with its core message being “God hates Fags”. Their twisted interpretation of the bible has lead them to believe that all tragedies on Earth are because of homosexuality, which is considered to be the worst sin of all, and the public’s increasing acceptance of homo and bi sexuality.
BBC 2 Louis Theroux