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7 Must-Watch Louis Theroux Documentaries


by Jade Hanley
12th Nov 2017
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We all know and love him…BBC’s Louis Theroux is one of the world’s very best documentarians. Throughout the years we’ve followed him on his journeys through dark states, confrontations with Nazis and living with the most hated family in America. Here’s our roundup of his best .

Talking to Anorexia

Louis Theroux returned to our screens in October with this deep dive into anorexia- in it, he talks one-on-one to a number of sufferers, young and old alike, visiting two of London’s biggest treatment facilities- St Ann’s Hospital and Vincent Square Clinic. His gentle questioning of 63-year-old Janet who has been suffering from the illness her whole life and 27-year-old Jess who has been battling the illness for 1 year, throw light on the harsh realities of this horrible, life-degrading disease.

My Scientology Movie

Louis heads to California and teams up with former senior executive of the ‘church’, Mark “Marty” Rathbun, to gain insight into the inner workings of  Scientology. The doc focuses on how the church leader David Miscavige intimidated his flock by using violent and aggressive language and behaviour towards them. Theroux’s calm and clarity is the perfect foil to all the madness. This is definitely one to watch.

Savile

In this 2016 BBC documentary, Louis tries to make sense of how he failed to expose Savile’s paedophilia and abusive side in his previous show. 16 years have passed since Louis first met Jimmy Savile and fell into the same trap that the whole world did. Now it’s time to set the record straight. As some of Savile’s victims call him out for being silly and gullible, we see a much more vulnerable side to Theroux.

The Most Hated Family In America

In this 2007 documentary, Louis brings his audience on a journey all the way to Topeka, Texas, HQ of  the Westboro Baptist Church led by Fred Phelps. The Phelps have become infamous for crashing soldiers’ funerals, ‘thanking God’ that they are dead and parading around with signs saying  ‘America is dead’ and ‘God hates fags’. The disturbing and crazy world that Louis shows us is enough to make you thank God you weren’t born into an even more hateful and intolerant world.

America’s Most Hated Family In Crisis

Four years after making his first documentary on The Most Hated Family in America, Louis revisits the Phelps family.  “Is it possible you’ve become even more weird? ” he asks one member. The answer is yes and another three weeks embedded in their hatred only begins to clarify why this family and organisation are like this.

Behind Bars

In this 2008 documentary, Theroux visits one of America’s oldest and most notorious prisons, California’s San Quentin. Famous for its death row, its main purpose is to contain over 3,000 convicted criminals, including murderers and sexual predators. How do guards and criminals cope with everyday life, and each other?

Louis and the Nazis

In this 2003 classic, Louis travels to Fulbrook, California to meet one of America’s most notorious racists, a Grand Dragon of the KKK in the ‘70s, a congressional candidate in the ‘80s and now the leader of White Aryan Resistance (a self-styled revolutionary group) named Tom Metzger. Louis is calm and collected throughout the documentary, even through tense and somewhat terrifying encounters with Nazis and skinheads.

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