Louis Theroux's genre-defining immersive documentaries follow his attempts to get to know the people at the heart of some of the world's - and especially America's - most controversial and fascinating lifestyles.
Using a gentle questioning style and an informal approach, throughout his career Louis has shone light on intriguing beliefs, behaviours, and institutions – from the officers and inmates at San Quentin prison to the extreme believers of the Westboro Baptist Church; from male porn performers in California to young women with eating disorders in London and trophy hunters on South Africa's wild animal farms.
Louis graduated from Oxford in 1991 and got his break in television in 1994 working for the American documentary maker Michael Moore, who hired him as a writer and correspondent on his show, TV Nation. Louis was then signed up by the BBC to make his own series, Weird Weekends, about unusual American subcultures.
In 2000, he began making a series of specials, When Louis Met…, about intriguing British public figures, including one featuring disc jockey Jimmy Savile and another which saw him live with the disgraced Tory minister Neil Hamilton and his wife Christine as they were falsely accused of rape and subjected to a media siege.
In 2011, he spent more than a month in Miami for a two-part series about the inmates at one of America's most violent jails. The following year, Louis revisited his 1997 documentary about the world of male performers in Twilight of the Porn Stars. He also visited one of the best schools in America for autism in Extreme Love: Autism and travelled to Phoenix, Arizona, the US capital of dementia care Extreme Love: Dementia.
In 2015, the BBC broadcast Louis' LA Stories where he immersed himself in the world of Ohio's State Psychiatric Hospitals in a two-part documentary; in the third, he travelled to a hospital in San Francisco to meet transgender children.
Louis’ first feature-length documentary, My Scientology Movie, was released in 2016, having been shown at the 2015 London Film Festival to great acclaim.
Over the years, Louis has kept true to a way of working that is uniquely his own: by charming his subjects, he’s able to offer rounded portraits of the people involved in complex social issues and human dilemmas, while always resisting easy judgements.
Louis’s programmes have won numerous accolades. He has been the recipient of numerous awards for his television work, including three BAFTAs, an RTS award, and the Grierson’s Trustees’ Award.