Louis Theroux interviews Stormzy

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Louis Theroux Interviews… Stormzy (BBC2, 9.15pm)

Most journalists and TV presenters probably have a wish-list of people they would love to interview. Some may have even grabbed the chance of 20 minutes or so with their dream celebrity or public figure after an offer came up.

Although it’s exciting, less than half an hour isn’t a great deal of time to build enough trust so that the interviewee feels genuinely comfortable during the interview.

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Even chatting with a famous face on neutral turf, such as a bar or at a press junket, requires a suspension of reality. They and the journalist more than likely don’t know each other, but a degree of intimacy still has to be established between the two so the answers are worth reading when the interview is finally written up.

None of this is a problem for Louis Theroux.

The award-winning documentarian, broadcaster, author and journalist has spent many years chatting to a wide range of people.

It began during his stint as a correspondent for Michael Moore’s TV Nation, which then led to the 1998 series Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends and, two years later, When Louis Met…

Both saw Louis spend time with controversial or quirky figures from US subcultures, as well as various UK personalities, including ex-Conservative MP Neil Hamilton and his wife Christine, Max Clifford and Jimmy Savile.

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The soon-to-be disgraced star was a subject Louis would revisit later in his career, after gaining widespread praise for his 2007 documentary The Most Hated Family in America, about the family at the core of the Westboro Baptist Church.

Louis continued to probe non-mainstream groups and societies, from the Church of Scientology to the alt-right and the porn industry, providing insights for UK audiences into these strange worlds.

During lockdown, he flexed his interview muscles again with the BBC Radio 4 podcast Grounded with Louis Theroux, chatting with Boy George, Gail Porter and Lenny Henry, among others.

It’s only natural that he should return to the small screen with more celebrity interviews, obviously with a particular Louis Theroux twist. For this series, he chats to stars about their lives and careers in settings that are personal to them.

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For example, Louis meets Dame Judi Dench in her countryside home and is invited on stage in the West End. Bear Grylls takes Louis by boat to his remote island off the coast of North Wales and gives him an access-all-areas pass to his adventure family festival.

Singer-songwriter Rita Ora sits down with Louis at her father’s London pub, and he joins her as she performs live in Albania, while Dominic Harrison, AKA musician Yungblud, takes Louis to meet his family in Doncaster and his fans on tour in LA.

The presenter also accompanies comedian, actor and writer Katherine Ryan on her latest stand-up tour.

But before all that, Louis kicks things off by getting up close and personal with rapper Stormzy. They chat in the comfort of the singer’s living room, as well as at the recording studio, during his biggest tour to date and at his local worship group.

We can’t wait to see what he finds out.