How to make great TV according to Louis Theroux

Louis Theroux (Credit: BBC)

“I was not a conventional presence,” says the documentary maker, who is now entering his 24th year in television with over 50 films under his belt.

His opportunity came in 1994, when he joined Michael Moore’s series TV Nation. “I went into the interview with Michael saying ‘I’ll do anything’ and I genuinely meant it: writing researching or doing anything.”

That is his first tip for tomorrow’s Therouxs: focus on making good TV.

Channel 4 Factual get into drama with Shamed

Shamed (w/t), which stars Game of Thrones actress Faye Marsay, centres around the cool and calm Sarah Ivy, whose world collapsed around her 10 years previously.

With the help of her brother she kidnaps two men, Nathan (Nick Blood - Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D) and Mani. The duo claim not to know Sarah or what she would want with them, however a connection is soon revealed...

BBC unveils slate of new documentaries

Clare Sillery, head of documentary commissioning at the BBC, has unveiled a wide-reaching range of shows from acclaimed producers, directors and filmmakers.

Celebrating a “fantastic year” for BBC documentaries, which saw BBC Two’s Exodus: Our Journey to Europe win the RTS Programme Award for Documentary Series, Sillery promised that the new slate of programmes would continue to “demonstrate the ongoing ambition of documentaries at the BBC to speak to the now.”

Reframing the documentary: how Amazon and Netflix are changing factual television

All or Nothing: A Season with the Arizona Cardinals (Credit: Amazon Prime)

In February of this year, Netflix won its first Oscar and its first Bafta. Surprisingly, the awards were not for any of its high-profile drama series, but for two documentaries. The Academy Award went to The White Helmets, a film about a group of Syria Civil Defence volunteer rescue workers. The Bafta winner was 13th, Ava DuVernay’s film about race in the US criminal justice system.

Channel 4 to explore the history of homosexuality in Britain

Alan Turing (Credit: WikiCommons)

The channel will uncover the history of homosexuality laws and the evolving perceptions of homosexuality in Britain over the last 50 years in four documentaries and a collection of shorts.

Rob Coldstream, Commissioning Editor, Special Factual said: "History can tell us as much about the present day as it does about the past and I’m thrilled to announce this slate of programmes – it's incredibly wide ranging but at its heart is brilliant new journalism, and a fresh lens onto the past that offers new insights into our own times."

Levison Wood: "I’m done with walking"

Levison Wood walks through Central America (Credit: Simon Buxton / Channel 4)

In 2014 he walked the length of the Nile, and the following year trekked from Afghanistan to Bhutan across the Himalayas. He’s just returned from his latest expedition, a four month walk through Central America from Mexico to Colombia, passing through the notorious Darien Gap.

“I’m pretty lucky because I’ve kind of got everything that I could ever have dreamed of in terms of my career,” says Wood during a break between recording voice overs for his new series Walking the Americas.

Tea Break Tips - Storytelling Through Editing

Bonnie Rae Brickman is a New York-born film and TV editor with over 25 years’ experience, much of it in news and documentary. Her work has been honoured with four Emmy Awards and screened at film festivals worldwide. Bonnie currently teaches editing on the Ethnographic & Documentary Film MA programme at University College London. She shares tips on the art of telling stories through editing.