Louis Theroux to make 'dream project' Joe Wicks mental health TV documentary

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Joe WicksImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Wicks said he wanted to use his personal experience to connect with viewers

Louis Theroux will be executive producer on a BBC One documentary about fitness coach Joe Wicks that will focus on his parents' battles with OCD and drug addiction.

Wicks, who was made an MBE last year, endeared himself to the nation by giving free online fitness classes during the coronavirus lockdown.

He said he wanted to "connect and help families today who are in similar situations to the one I was in".

Theroux said it was a "dream project".

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Louis Theroux said he was "a true believer in Joe's mission of improving your mental well-being through exercise"

Wicks said he hoped the documentary would help show exercise was a "powerful tool in helping to boost our mental health".

"I've spent a lot of time helping people improve their physical health," he added. "But as a child that grew up in a home with parents that struggled with their mental health, I know that this is just as important, especially given what's happened over the last year.

"I'm passionate about exploring it."

Image source, BBC/Comic Relief/Children In Need
Image caption,
In June 2020, Wicks said his online workouts had attracted almost 70 million views worldwide

Like many people who attended The Body Coach's virtual HIIT classes during the pandemic, Theroux said they had been good for his mental and physical health.

He said on on Wicks' BBC podcast last year his workouts were "almost a safety blanket" during lockdown, adding: "When so much is weird in lockdown, and with everything going on, just having something in the diary that was non-negotiable, every morning [really helped]."

The filmmaker went on to display the bulging arm muscles he said the classes had given him during an appearance on Lorraine Kelly's ITV programme.

The BBC said: "Joe was brought up by parents who struggled with their mental health. His mother suffered from acute OCD [obsessive-compulsive disorder] and his father battled heroin addiction.

"In this intimate and emotionally powerful film Joe will revisit his childhood and have frank discussions with his family and friends, revealing how his experiences motivated him to keep healthy."

Theroux, a two-time Bafta winner who famously interviewed Jimmy Savile in 2000, said he was one of the thousands to watch Wicks' online workout videos and was "a true believer in Joe's mission of improving your mental well-being through exercise".

"It is a complete thrill and privilege to be able to spread the word further in this documentary, while also showing a side of the nation's favourite PE teacher they have never seen before," he said. The documentary will be called Joe Wicks: Mental Health, My Family And Me.

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