Louis Theroux recalls ‘old-fashioned corporal punishment’ at his prep school: ‘It felt like a 1930s throwback’

Louis knows the feel of a ruler (Picture: Rex/Getty)

Louis Theroux has recalled the prep school his parents sent him to as a young boy, labelling it a ‘1930s throwback’ for its old-fashioned methods – including corporal punishment.

The 51-year-old broadcaster moved schools at ‘nine or 10’ as his parents felt he ‘wasn’t learning enough’.

He explained in an interview with The Guardian: ‘They sent me to a prep school, which felt like a throwback to the 1930s. The school seemed to pride itself on being old-fashioned and still used corporal punishment. Pupils were hit on the hand with a ruler, spanked on the bum with a plimsoll, or slapped on their thighs with a bare hand.’

The popular presenter revealed he was on the receiving end of some of these punishments.

‘I wasn’t a frequent transgressor, but it did happen a few times because I was an unintentional rulebreaker,’ he admitted. ‘I wasn’t intrinsically naughty, but in the act of attempting to amuse my friends I sometimes ran foul of the authorities.’

He also shared that he ‘always felt like the second fiddle’ to his older novelist brother Marcel, author of A Paper Chase.

Louis has had massive success with his programmes (Picture: Getty)

Louis labelled his success an ‘accident’ too, crediting his place in life via his programmes as a combination of ‘hard work, having the right collaborators, but also just being in the right place at the right time’.

Speaking to Metro.co.uk and other press previously, Louis discussed his ‘insecurities’ around his success as one of the UK’s most treasured television presenters.

He said: ‘There’s prestige attached to the idea of being a TV presenter but at the same time, it can be oddly infantilising because you’re seen as the pampered nincompoop, right?

‘The one who has to be tolerated and their opinions have to be tolerated because they’re the ones on camera but you don’t seem quite like you’re a grown-up and as weird as it may sound, even after 25 years in TV, I have a little bit of that feeling of, do I work in television or am I just a kind of journalist who got lucky and for some weird reason people allow me to go around interviewing people and we make a programme? But the director makes it really, or the producer, or the editor.’

The documentary maker struck up a Covid bromance with fitness professional and influencer Joe Wicks over lockdown.

The Body Coach and Louis have since teamed up for a project on mental health, which has Joe revisiting his childhood and sharing how his upbringing inspired him to stay healthy while his parents struggled with OCD and heroin addiction.

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