After 25 years spent documenting the lives of others, Louis Theroux has finally produced something on his own.
His new memoir, Gotta Get Theroux This, is a candid and surprisingly personal read from someone often on the outside looking in, detailing his exploits from cradle to the 2019 BAFTAs.
Theroux’s open secret - which will disappoint some fans but delight many more - is that he’s pretty much the same off camera as on. The courtesy, the considered yet slightly stuttering delivery, the genuine interest in both his interviewees and his interviewers.
“I don’t really know what people think about me,” says Theroux, 49. “But they have definitely thought that my persona was more of a persona than it is. I’m more or less who you see on camera.”
Far from carefully choreographed strangeness, the on-screen Theroux has evolved in tandem with the man himself, and observers cite an increasing ‘maturity’ in his work. He agrees: “I like to think I’m more thoughtful now, about my work and human nature in general.”
Where once his programmes were sly-winking segments on swingers, UFO sightings and survivalists, the modern Theroux explores eating disorders, postpartum psychosis and postnatal depression.
“I find a subject that interests me - something complicated, stressful, or baffling - then I figure out what’s going on. In one sense, there’s not much more to it than that.”
From the outside, his nerves seem made from the stuff they put on armoured trucks, but beneath the inscrutable demeanour he insists he’s rather thin-skinned. “It’s one of my weaknesses,” he says, almost apologetically. “If I read a bad review, I tend to mind.”
When asked for his ideal next programme, he doesn’t miss a beat: “I don’t think there’s anyone alive that wouldn’t be intrigued to see a full-access doc about Donald Trump.”
One can only imagine how long that might take, so now fans must content themselves with his book.