Britney Spears, Joe Exotic Documentaries Commissioned by U.K.’s BBC Two

Naman Ramachandran
·2-min read

Britney Spears’ conservatorship battle and Netflix “Tiger King” sensation Joe Exotic are the subjects of two contrasting documentaries commissioned by U.K. broadcaster BBC Two.

In “Britney” (working title), BAFTA-winning journalist Mobeen Azhar seeks to uncover the truth behind the conservatorship that pop icon Britney Spears has been held under for the last 13 years. A #FreeBritney movement that aims to free the musician from her father Jamie Spears’ conservatorship has been gathering support, and was recently the focus of FX documentary “Framing Britney Spears.”

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Azhar said: “I went to LA in search of the truth of how Britney Spears, one of the biggest pop stars on the planet, ended up in a conservatorship. I found myself in a world of lawyers, superfans and paparazzi and spent time with many of the people who’ve had a front row seat in Britney’s life. This film taps into the energy of the #FreeBritney movement and questions the industry, fandom and the laws that facilitate conservatorships.”

Elsewhere, BAFTA-winning filmmaker Louis Theroux returns to the U.S. with “Louis Theroux: The Cult of Joe Exotic” (working title), a feature-length documentary revisiting one of his most provocative subjects — Joseph Maldonado-Passage, better known as Joe Exotic, as immortalized in the Netflix hit “Tiger King.”

Theroux first met Exotic, now serving time in a federal prison, while making his documentary “America’s Most Dangerous Pets,” and revisits hours of unseen footage for the current show.

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

“Britney” will air on BBC Two later this spring. It is produced by Forest and distributed internationally by Abacus Media Rights. The producer is Laura Kaye and the executive producer is Jeremy Lee. It was commissioned by Patrick Holland, controller of BBC Two, and the commissioning editor for BBC Music is Owen Courtney.

“Louis Theroux: The Cult of Joe Exotic” is produced by Mindhouse Productions. It was commissioned by Holland, and Clare Sillery, BBC head of commissioning, documentaries, history and religion. The commissioning editor for the BBC is Emma Loach.

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