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Louis Theroux Will Revisit Westboro Baptist Church In New BBC Documentary

Louis Theroux Will Revisit Westboro Baptist Church In New BBC Documentary

Thirteen years since he first met the notorious group, Louis Theroux has returned to Kansas to spend time with Westboro Baptist Church.

In the new documentary, Surviving America's Most Hated Family, Louis discovers how the controversial group, famous for picketing military funerals with homophobic placards, has changed following the death of founder and figurehead, 'Gramps.'

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"I am always interested in how people change over time - both physically and in their outlook," Louis explained in a BBC release about the new documentary. "And even more so when they are involved in lifestyles that are somehow wrong-headed or self-sabotaging."

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Louis said he was curious to discover how the church was faring after Pastor Fred Phelps AKA 'Gramps,' died in 2014.


"Gramps' angry and bigoted outlook had been the bedrock of Westboro's practises and I was curious to see whether his death might have caused any kind of break-up or re-evaluation within the church" Louis said.

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"Especially since there had been rumours that he might have had some kind of change of heart at the end of his life."

Award-winning film-maker Louis will also examine the relevance of the group in Trump's America, where outrageous statements are par for the course.

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The church first featured in Louis' 2006 documentary The Most Hated Family in America. Louis delved back inside the cultish world of Westboro again in 2011 with America's Most Hated Family In Crisis.

Louis admits it was exciting going back for thirds. "For their own reasons - to do with spreading their twisted take on the gospels - Westboro let me back in" he says.

"For my part it was a chance to see the strange machinations of psychology, religion, and social conditioning. I feel lucky to have had the chance to conduct this kind of longitudinal documentary making."

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The new documentary will air on BBC2 later this year.

Topics: Documentaries, TV News, TV and Film

Sally Stevenson

Freelance writer based in London.

 

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