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