Louis Theroux, best known for his TV documentaries, is, like the rest of us, being forced to improvise and so has started a podcast, Grounded with Louis Theroux.
He’s Zoom-ing and interviewing some big names, such as Lenny Henry, Helena Bonham Carter, and Rose McGowan (choice quote: “People could use a bit more bravery”).
The first episode is with podcaster/ film-maker Jon Ronson. Like most of the five to date, it could do with some editing, as it takes a while to get going and doesn’t dwell enough on some of the juicier topics, such as their ‘rivalry’ as documentarians.
It’s worth it, though, for when they get into some of their war stories, like Ronson getting a letter of recommendation from Ku-Klux Klan leader Thom Robb, and a chat about “the world’s only swimming chimpanzee”.
Meanwhile, Boy George guffaws about his living alone in lockdown, “I wouldn’t wish me upon anyone in a situation like this.”
Not five minutes later, he’s being questioned by Theroux about when he was a 15-year-old having an affair with an Italian man in his late 30s.
“We need some foreplay before we answer these sort of questions,” he replies in a chat that never broaches the subject of George’s conviction for falsely imprisoning a male escort.
Theroux is not the only big UK documentarian who’s turned to interviewing people for a new podcast in lockdown.
Ross Kemp has travelled to the most hostile environments imaginable and there’s plenty of that world in the initial episodes of the Kempcast, where he’s talked to the ‘Black Widow’ Linda Calvey and SAS: Who Dares Wins instructor Mark ‘Billy’ Billingham.
The most interesting chat to date is with Neil Woods, a former undercover drugs cop who explains how the ‘war on drugs’ is misguided, and who charts his journey, from being forced to taste extremely strong meth in front of a suspicious drugs kingpin to having to convince two dealers the hidden camera on his button wasn’t, well, a hidden camera.
Kemp can’t resist upping the ante and interjecting with the story of how his spy camera didn’t work during a child paedophilia expose. As asides go, it’s tough to top.
Like Grounded, the episodes could have been edited considerably, but while you wouldn’t usually think of Theroux and Kemp alongside each other, they’re both using their particular personalities to provide some quality lockdown listening.