Joe Wicks, Louis Theroux to explore UK mental health in new BBC doc

joe wicks

Fitness guru Joe Wicks and journalist Louis Theroux will explore mental health issues within families in a new BBC documentary film that will share Wicks’ own story.

Joe Wicks and mental health

In the course of one remarkable year, Wicks has gone from being an Insta-famous health & fitness guru to a full-blown national treasure, drawing millions to his online PE sessions during lockdown and winning the country over with his energy, charm and optimism.

But behind this positivity is a poignant personal story: Joe was brought up by parents who struggled with their mental health. 

His mother suffered from acute OCD and his father battled heroin addiction. 

In an intimate and emotionally powerful film Wicks will revisit his childhood and have frank discussions with his family and friends, revealing how his experiences motivated him to keep healthy.

“I’ve spent a lot of time helping people improve their physical health, but as a child that grew up in a home with parents that struggled with their mental health, I know that this is just as important, especially given what’s happened over the last year”, Wicks said.

“I’m passionate about exploring it and I want to use my own experience to connect and help families today who are in similar situations to the one I was in. 

Exercise benefits to mental health

“I also want to share the message that exercise can be a really powerful tool in helping to boost our mental health.”

Louis Theroux, Executive Producer, said: “I was one of the hundreds of thousands of people who flocked to Joe’s online work-outs on that first day of PE With Joe back in March 2020. 

“I’m a true believer in Joe’s mission of improving your mental wellbeing through exercise and it is a complete thrill and privilege to be able to spread the word further in this documentary, while also showing a side of the nation’s favourite PE teacher they have never seen before. This is a dream project for me.”

Jack Bootle, Head of Commissioning, Natural History and Science, said: “The past year has put incredible pressure on families, especially those where parents have mental health conditions, and I’m incredibly grateful to Joe and his family for sharing their story with the BBC. 

“I hope that by doing so they will make it easier for people in a similar situation to reach out for help.” 

An estimated 3.7 million children in England live in a home where an adult has a mental health issue, according to UK government research, and the pressures of family life have intensified over a year of lockdowns and economic uncertainty. 

In this programme, Wicks will meet children and families struggling in situations similar to his own childhood and the people at the sharp end trying to help them.

As well as exploring how children are affected by their parents’ mental health struggles, Wicks will investigate how we can better support these kids and what can be done to improve the mental wellbeing of the nation’s families.

Joe Wicks: Mental Health, My Family And Me (w/t), a 1×60’ for BBC One and iPlayer, is made by Mindhouse Productions. 

It was commissioned by Patrick Holland, Director, Factual Arts and Classical Music Television and Jack Bootle, Head of Commissioning, Natural History and Science. 

The Executive Producers are Louis Theroux and Shona Thompson, the Director is James Ross and the Commissioning Editor is Tom Coveney.