Louis Theroux explores Los Angeles in three films
Los Angeles, California's seductive and sprawling city, will be the subject of three films with Louis Theroux this spring.
The journalist and broadcaster - who has been living in LA for the past year or so - will explore aspects of the city that don't get as much attention as the Hollywood industry on which it has made much of its wealth.
Theroux says: 'I have a love hate relationship with the city. It embodies the best and worst of America. It combines wealth and glamour with social breakdown and deep neglect. We've concentrated on stories that take us into the extremes of life and the extreme parts of one of the world's great cities.'
The first film will look at LA's problem with neglected and feral dogs. Theroux joins dog catchers from the city's biggest pound and follows them as they try to seize animals that pose a danger to people or have been left to roam the streets. He also meets a former gang member who helps turns dogs into weapons; and he talks to the people who are hoping to rehabilitate troubled and mistreated animals.
In a film about end-of-life care in California, Theroux meets patients with terminal conditions at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, LA's most famous hospital. The broadcaster follows the patients as they exhaust every avenue available to save their lives, no matter what the cost or how bad the side effects. It prompts him to ask difficult questions of America's expensive healthcare system.
Finally, Theroux spends time with California's sex offenders. On being released from prison, the convicted criminals are tagged with GPS devices and kept under constant watch. Under some of the state's laws, they are placed on a sex offender register for life and forbidden from living near parks or schools. Their identity is also kept in the public domain so that anyone can learn about previous convictions. The journalist speaks frankly with sex offenders, questioning the purpose and effect of California's strict probation laws.
Emma Willis, head of commissioning, documentaries for BBC One, Two and Four, says: 'In the 16 years that Louis has been making films for the BBC, he has produced some of our most challenging documentaries on a range of topics and we're fascinated to see where he'll take us next.'
The films were commissioned by Janice Hadlow, controller of BBC Two, and executive produced by Sam Bagnall.