BBC Factual is prepping a series featuring documentarian Louis Theroux (pictured) that explores the impact of the Internet and social media on some controversial parts of American entertainment.
The 3 x 60-minute Louis Theroux: Forbidden America (w/t) will air on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer. Theroux, a filmmaker, journalist and author, will travel the U.S. to meet content creators who promote far-right views, self-destructive performers, and in some cases, alleged predators.
In outlining those examined in the new series, Theroux said in a statement: “Far-right groups that have found new influence through gaming and streaming services. Porn performers who have seen power shift to them as they’ve embraced creator-controlled apps and called out alleged predators in the industry. And in the rap world young men with big dreams caught up in feuds and high-risk behavior in the click-driven world of social media.
“These three documentaries were tough to make,” he added. “They required delicate access conversations. They feature scenes and confrontations that are shocking and upsetting. But they are also powerful depictions of a world that has become strange in ways we could never have imagined just 10 years ago. They show the dangers of the technotopia we all now inhabit, where extremist content can be piped directly into the phones and laptops of millions of children. But they also illustrate some of the positive opportunities the new world has created by disrupting old hierarchies of power.”
In the series’ first episode, Theroux meets young and inflammatory figures from the far right, including some who came to the public’s attention through the Capitol Hill riots, to question their opinions and explore how they are influencing real-world events.
In the second episode, Theroux immerses himself in hip-hop culture in the Southern U.S., particularly Florida, to discuss how rappers have long mined their lives for inspiration to create and promote their music, and how the 24-hour connectivity of social media is impacting that work.
The final instalment explores the porn industry as it grapples with its own #MeToo movement. The rise of platforms like OnlyFans has given performers more financial independence, while social media has become a space to publish accusations of sexual misconduct. Theroux will meet with those who have been accused and those making the allegations.
The series was made by Mindhouse Productions and commissioned by Patrick Holland, director of factual, arts and classical music television, and Claire Sillery, head of commissioning, documentaries, history and religion. The executive producer is Arron Fellows, the series producer is Emma Whitehead, and the directors are Dan Dewsbury and Rachel Lob-Levyt. Cath Boggan, Kandise Abiola and Rory Toher also serve as producers. Global sales will be handled by BBC Studios distribution.
BBC Wales also announced on Monday that it has commissioned Wonders of the Celtic Deep (4 x 60 minutes) a natural history series from One Tribe TV that will air on BBC One Wales and BBC iPlayer.
The series will explore the coast of Wales, filmed in ultra high definition by some of the filmmakers behind other natural history series such as Blue Planet. The series covers blue sharks, fin whales, seabirds that can ‘fly’ underwater and fish that can breathe on land. The series also highlights the work of scientists and volunteers around Wales and investigates bigger environmental issues.
The series is narrated by Welsh actress Dame Siân Phillips, and accompanied by a soundtrack composed by Welsh composer Paul Mealor and performed by the BBC’s National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales.
The series producer is Sally Weale, the series director is Anne Gallagher, and it is executive produced by Dale Templar and Owen Gay. The series was also part-funded by the Welsh Government via Creative Wales.