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Louis Theroux : ‘Joe Wicks and I had a Covid Bromance’

The documentary maker talks about healthy family squabbles, ‘crazy-making’ homeschooling and how people in the US with fringe beliefs have moved much closer to the mainstream

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Louis Theroux: ‘I never want to be glibly writing off dissenters... It’s important to have free thinkers’. Photo by Paul Marc Mitchell

Louis Theroux: ‘I never want to be glibly writing off dissenters... It’s important to have free thinkers’. Photo by Paul Marc Mitchell

‘I heard Joe on Desert Island Discs talking about his upbringing, and I realised his story was amazing. I dropped him a line telling him I’d be honoured to do a documentary on it’

‘I heard Joe on Desert Island Discs talking about his upbringing, and I realised his story was amazing. I dropped him a line telling him I’d be honoured to do a documentary on it’

Theroux the Keyhole by Louis Theroux

Theroux the Keyhole by Louis Theroux

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Louis Theroux: ‘I never want to be glibly writing off dissenters... It’s important to have free thinkers’. Photo by Paul Marc Mitchell

There’s nary a parent in the land who will read Louis Theroux’s pandemic diary without feeling a pang of uncomfortable familiarity. Theroux the Keyhole: Diaries of a Grounded Documentary Maker is instantly relatable. There’s the homeschooling of the broadcaster’s three sons, who were 14, 11 and five at the beginning of the UK’s first lockdown. Given that he spent prolonged spells abroad making documentaries in the weirdest reaches of the world, he writes of the novelty of spending day and night with his boys and his wife, Nancy.

There are Joe Wicks workouts. There is the near-mandatory watching of The Tiger King (although given Theroux got there in 2011, before Netflix did, it’s safe to say that his experience might have been different to everyone else’s). There’s managing his anxiety. There is a terrifying moment when Nancy, who has a family history of asthma, becomes seriously ill with Covid. There is claustrophobia, eyeball-popping boredom and despair in spades. And bourbon. Lots of bourbon.


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