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Five Of The Best Mr Louis Theroux Moments Ever

October 2016Words by Mr Ed Cripps

Photograph courtesy of BBC Films

Mr Louis Theroux had two documentaries out in the last couple of weeks and there’s a neatness to the synchronicity. Savile (shown on 2 October on BBC Two) examines why he couldn’t do more to uncover the secrets of a perversely powerful showbiz untouchable; My Scientology Movie (in cinemas now) is an ingenious, The Act Of Killing-style exposé of Hollywood’s most shrouded holy cow. You wonder how the Mr Theroux of today, a boyish 46, would have tackled the original When Louis Met Jimmy. He’s certainly matured: early funny films about eccentricity – British celebrities, American subculture-vultures – paved the way for more serious subjects like prisons, autism, dementia and addiction. He has tempered the hyper-articulate, non-judgmental curiosity of a lay psychologist with a theatre-of-the-absurd playwright’s instinct for everyday surrealism, a master of “Socratic irony” (feigned ignorance that makes interviewees drop their guard) and, for a certain breed of gauche cerebral Englishman, a prophet. To celebrate the most prominent week of his career so far, here are five moments that capture his mix of tones, strengths and foibles from over the years.

When Ms Christine Hamilton got cosy on her sofa