Louis Theroux is back – and with a bang.

The award-winning film-maker will return to BBC screens for a new feature-length documentary commissioned by the broadcaster with the working title of Louis Theroux: The Cult of Joe Exotic

It will be the first time since 2019 that Louis returns to America to revisit one of his most provocative subjects – Joseph Maldonado-Passage, better known as Joe Exotic, the self-proclaimed Tiger King.

Zoo-owner Joe spiralled out of control on the hit Netflix documentary Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness when it aired last year.

But Louis famously filmed Joe a decade ago in a revealing documentary focused on big-cat breeding in the US.

“This is one of those quintessentially American stories, taking place in the heartland of Oklahoma, with a cast of characters almost too colourful and larger-than-life to be believed,” revealed Louis.

“I spent eight or nine days filming at the park back in 2011, over the course of three separate visits.

“I’d forgotten how much we shot until I went back into the footage during lockdown. It’s extraordinary how much was there.

“Since then the story just got stranger and bigger, and in going back at the end of last year I uncovered a real-life drama that took me in directions I never could have expected."

The two-time British Academy Television Awards winner has been making documentaries since 1998 when his Weird Weekends was first broadcast on Beeb.

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And on the back of those five series, one of which looked at the porn industry, Louis produced 12 more thought-provoking episodes spanning two series, covering topics including swingers and scientology, interviewing white separatists and meeting American nationalist groups who had been branded anti-Semitic, racist and homophobic.

Louis, who has also won a Royal Television Society Television Award, found success with his follow-up When Louis Met series, and has produced close to 50 one-off specials for the broadcaster.

It’s been 10 years since he first met Joe whilst making his documentary America’s Most Dangerous Pets – and the acclaimed film-maker is back in Oklahoma to explore what has happened since.

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Joe is now locked up in a federal prison having been found guilty of a murder-for-hire plot and multiple animal cruelty charges.

But rather than a pariah, Joe is a media phenomenon with a well-funded campaign team who were attempting to win him a presidential pardon.

“In this follow-up to Louis’ revelatory first-look at the life of Joe Exotic in America’s Most Dangerous Pets, viewers will be taken even more deeply into the weird world of one of America’s most notorious figures,” revealed Clare Sillery, the BBC’s Head of Commissioning, Documentaries, History and Religion.

She added: “This feature-length special will be full to the brim with never-before-seen footage and brand-new interviews with those on all sides of the Joe Exotic story.”

Louis has been looking back at his original documentary while reflecting on hours of unseen footage.

And as he tries to investigate what’s happened in the intervening years to Joe – and those involved with the controversial big cat industry, he meets old friends from his original documentary.

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