Louis Theroux and David Attenborough will be joining forces in the exhilarating new series, ‘Degeneration in one Generation’, The Pigeon is excited to announce. The much anticipated collaboration from Britain’s most cherished documenters will take viewers on a whirlwind journey, examining five of the world’s most controversial leaders: Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un, Xi Jinping and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. In an exclusive interview with the dreamy duo I strived to delve deep into their beautiful brains and get the low down on what to expect.
Attenborough and Theroux sit on a plump Chesterfield; Attenborough cradling a steaming brew of Yorkshire gold whilst Theroux digs into a tin of cold Heinz baked beans. When asked if he’d liked them warmed up he raises his eyebrows and answers ‘oh no, they’re great just like this’. The two look like they’ve known each other a lifetime, with the slightest hand gesture or facial expression being reciprocated by the other.
The sofa is Wimbledon, their interaction the most soothing game of tennis. I mention this, and ask why it took so long for them to collaborate. ‘Well, we’ve been friends for years’, says Theroux with a mouthful of beans, ‘we’ve always respected and admired each other’s work but things got heated when we found out my series Dark States and Dave’s most recent Blue Planet were going to be released around the same time.’
Attenborough shifts his weight and rests his chin on a knobbly, mottled hand. He turns his head slowly from Theroux and gazes down at me, his eyes like great orbs, pregnant with wisdom. He says gently ‘the BBC fucked up, big time. What kind of bright spark would release the two biggest series in the same month? Anyway, instead of falling out over it we decided instead to get together and create something magnificent. And that’s just what we’ve done’.
Attenborough exudes a mischievous, schoolboy aura as his lip curls into a smile and catches Theroux’s eye, who in turn also grins. He leans over to wipe off a bean that’s fallen into Theroux’s lap. ‘We were chatting about the world’s biggest fuckwits, and thought, not only do they have extreme personality traits, but they also display the callous nature of some of the species I have studied. In many cases their behaviour was more animal than human’. Theroux slides a finger up his nose to peer through his specs, nodding in agreement. ‘Dave was telling me that chimpanzees, dolphins and elephants show more complex neurological activity than Trump; African wild dogs have more advanced voting systems than those demonstrated by Putin, Xi Jinping and Kim Jong-un; and rodents have been found to be more emotionally intuitive than Erdoğan . We thought, how is it that these men have so much power, but display features so abhorred by the general population?’
Attenborough leans back into the couch, casually dunking a custard cream. ‘That’s when we realised we had to make a documentary together; Lou would do an excellent job of interviewing them and I would study them as a kind of degenerated state of mankind. Examples of evolution in reverse. So, we spent a month with each leader to do exactly that’.
The series, which has also been dubbed a Machiavellian wet dream, will be air February 11th 2018