BBC announces new Louis Theroux series on birth, love and death in modern USA

Altered States is a three-part series set to air later this year.

Louis Theroux will examine how modern America is tackling “humanity’s oldest dilemmas” in a new documentary series.

BBC Two has announced a three-part series which has been given “extraordinary access” to lives in the USA.

Louis Theroux’s Altered States trilogy examines changing approaches to birth, sex, and death in the familiar style of the award-winning documentary maker.

The series will cover rising trends in all stages of life, including lucrative adoptions, polyamorous relationships, and euthanasia.

Theroux said: “I have always been interested in how people conduct the most intimate aspects of their lives.

“For this series we looked at the new ways Americans are approaching some of humanity’s oldest dilemmas: pregnant mums who feel unequipped to keep their babies and so pick new parents for them, the world of polyamory, and people with debilitating conditions who opt to hasten their own deaths.

“All of these stories have something a touch utopian about them, involving a kind of idealism and forward thinking that brings new opportunities but also new risks.

“I have been given extraordinary levels of access to courageous people and families across the United States, many of them enduring unbelievable levels of stress and anguish, and it was a privilege to be allowed into their lives in this most personal way.”

Altered States is set to air later this year, with the first episode looking at how addiction and poverty can fuel a clamour to hand over children in exchange for money from adoptive parents.

The second instalment sees Theroux in Portland, Oregon, exploring the pleasures and jealousies surrounding the practice of having multiple romantic partners or “ethical non-monogamy”.

In the last show, Theroux investigates the dilemmas involved in euthanasia, as families struggle with their loved ones choosing the right time to die.

BBC Two channel controller Patrick Holland said: “Louis is a unique talent on BBC Two and it is always a very special moment when a new series lands.

“Altered States is a hugely challenging, disturbing and illuminating trilogy, taking us into some extremes of experience, all guided by Louis’ exceptional empathy and humanity.”

The date of broadcast is yet to be confirmed.

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