Documentary fans are in for a treat this summer, as renowned documentarian Louis Theroux curates a selection of the films that have moved, entertained and influenced him for a new collection on BBC iPlayer.

In an exclusive new film, Louis Theroux: Docs That Made Me, Louis explains why he chose the documentaries in the collection and how they have inspired his work. All the films will be available on BBC iPlayer from today.

The collection showcases a wide variety of documentaries from the BBC archive, spanning from 1975 to 2016. The films explore a broad range of issues, including alcoholism, the American criminal justice system, polygamy in UK, and childhood delinquency.

One film in the collection Fourteen Days In May, which was first broadcast in 1987, follows a 26-year-old man convicted of murder as he appeals against his death sentence in the US courts. Speaking about the impact of the film Theroux remarks: “Many documentaries that are terrific come and go but this one is one that I think most people involved in documentaries will have seen and would agree that it’s a powerful and important piece of storytelling.”

Other highlights in the collection include 1975’s Inside Story: Mini, which follows an 11-year-old arsonist who twice attempted to burn down his parents’ house, and 2006’s Storyville: Philip And His Seven Wives, which follows a Jewish antiques dealer who believes it is his Biblical birthright to take as many wives as he chooses.

Full list of programmes:

  • Inside Story: Mini (1975)
  • Fourteen Days In May (1987)
  • Storyville: Philip And His Seven Wives (2006)
  • Rain In My Heart (2006)
  • Between Life And Death (2010)
  • Exposed: Magicians, Psychics & Frauds (2014)
  • Life And Death Row – Truth (2016)

Louis Theroux says: “It is an absolute privilege to be able to be part of sharing these wonderful, powerful documentaries. Each of them had an impact on me in a different way. They cover a range of styles – some vérité-driven, others told more through interview – but in all of them you see life at its most raw, its most strange and therefore its most human. I hope BBC iPlayer viewers enjoy them as much as I have.”

Alison Kirkham, controller of BBC factual commissioning, says: “Louis is one of the nation’s best-loved documentary makers, and it’s a thrill to have him curate this selection of films for BBC iPlayer. Louis Theroux: Docs That Made Me. We know that his work influences countless other documentary filmmakers so it is fascinating to understand the films that have touched, moved and inspired Louis himself throughout his career. The BBC is famous for making world-class documentaries, and Louis’s selection of old and new films demonstrates the extraordinary depth and richness of our archive.”

This year, BBC iPlayer reported its best first quarter ever, and recently made every episode of Doctor Who since the series returned in 2005 available to watch, alongside several classic BBC comedy box sets.

Louis Theroux: The Docs That Made Me, along with all of his selected documentaries, will be available to watch on BBC iPlayer’s From The Archive section. Launched last September, the section hosts over 400 programmes from the BBC’s vaults, from 1946 to the present day, including BBC documentary series Horizon, Storyville and Imagine, alongside popular classics and programmes from legendary BBC stars like David Attenborough, Dawn French and Barbara Windsor.

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