SOBER­ING

Louis Th­er­oux’s lat­est doc­u­men­tary se­ries Obliv­ion made him re­think habits, writes COLIN VICK­ERY

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TV GUIDE -

MAK­ING Drink­ing to Obliv­ion was a sober­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for Louis Th­er­oux.

The 47-year-old jour­nal­ist ad­mits his nightly rit­ual at home with wife Nancy Strang, with who he has sons Al­bert, 11, Fred­er­ick, 9, and tod­dler Wal­ter, is to down two gin and ton­ics and three glasses of wine (two bot­tles on the week­end).

But film­ing at Kings Col­lege Hos­pi­tal in South Lon­don showed Th­er­oux the rav­ages ex­treme drink­ing can cause.

Th­er­oux meets Aure­lie, a 44-year-old with cir­rho­sis of the liver, who downs seven cans of beer; Pi­eter, 37, who uses vodka to stem the grief over his fa­ther’s death; and Joe, 32, who leaves hos­pi­tal to buy al­co­hol, straight af­ter be­ing told one more binge could kill him.

“There is no plea­sure in (this level of drink­ing),” he says. “It is self-med­i­ca­tion more than any­thing else ... lifethreat­en­ing, self-an­ni­hi­lat­ing lev­els of drink­ing where you shut off friends and fam­ily be­cause you are drink­ing to the ex­clu­sion of al­most ev­ery­thing else.”

This doco is a change of pace for Th­er­oux, who went in search of a UK-based story af­ter pur­su­ing Amer­i­can stories for 15 years.

“We were up against it to be hon­est. We had spent a cou­ple of months try­ing to do a story on UK ji­hadists and sup­port­ers of ISIS, but it had be­come such a hot but­ton topic that we were com­pet­ing with other crews to get ac­cess. Plus the ter­ror sup­port­ers were so un­der pres­sure that they were very wary,” he says.

The BBC has an­nounced Th­er­oux will re­turn to Amer­ica to film three new doc­u­men­taries on “uniquely dev­as­tat­ing chal­lenges” in­clud­ing mur­der, sex traf­fick­ing and opi­ate de­pen­dency.

DRINK­ING TO OBLIV­ION

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