Social issues documentaries

Presented by investigative journalists such as Louis Theroux and Stacey Dooley, BBC Select features many documentaries that cover the social issues affecting today's society: from climate change to racism and domestic violence. If you live in the US or Canada, you can sign up for BBC Select to get informed on all of today's hot topics.

Louis Theroux: Law and Disorder in Lagos

Watch Louis Theroux: Law and Disorder in Lagos on BBC Select

How do you make sense of a city that seems utterly lawless and corrupt, and at other times strangely orderly and formal?

Sounds like a job for Louis Theroux.

The British filmmaker spends time with paramilitary state groups and local youth gangs to wrestle with the paradox at the heart of one of the fastest-growing cities in the world. Chaos mounts around him as he continues asking the questions in this Louis Theroux BBC documentary.

Louis Theroux: LA Stories - City of Dogs

Watch Louis Theroux: LA Stories - City of Dogs on BBC Select

Why carry a gun when you can own a weaponized dog?

Bizarrely, that’s what they do in the toughest neighborhoods of south LA, as British filmmaker Louis Theroux discovers in this documentary. Los Angeles is home to more than a quarter of a million dogs.

He meets some of the characters whose lives revolve around the city’s canines – from pit bulls trained to attack on command to the pampered pooches of Beverley Hills.

Louis Theroux: Law and Disorder in Johannesburg

Watch Louis Theroux: Law and Disorder in Johannesburg on BBC Select

With a title like Law and Disorder, Louis’ program on the most populated city in South Africa was always going to include an element of risk. In this gritty documentary, the British filmmaker puts himself in the firing line in a city besieged by crime.

Many residents are turning to private security protection. But are the sometimes-brutal methods of these private police really a solution, or part of the problem?

Louis Theroux: Altered States - Take My Baby

Watch Louis Theroux: Altered States - Take My Baby on BBC Select

What drives people to hand over their own flesh and blood?

In this documentary, British filmmaker Louis Theroux spends time with the birth mothers who do, uncovering stories of poverty, addiction and abuse that drive them to heartbreaking decisions.

In California, adoption is a multi-million-dollar industry where agents, facilitators and lawyers can earn up to $50,000 by pairing pregnant women with couples desperate to adopt.

Louis Theroux: Life on the Edge

Watch Louis Theroux: Life on the Edge on BBC Select

Genial and curious in equal measure, award-winning Louis Theroux documentaries have become synonymous with stories involving extreme subcultures and people on the fringes of society. He reflects on 25 years of acclaimed filmmaking in this candid retrospective, which utilizes his own home movie footage and news archives.

Looking back, Louis revisits the most iconic moments of his celebrated TV career and discusses the challenges and lessons he’s learned from telling truthful tales on screen for a quarter of a century.