Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Jon Ronson on his former rivalry with fellow documentary-maker Louis Theroux

Jon Ronson (BBC/Amanda Benson)
Jon Ronson (BBC/Amanda Benson)

Documentary-maker Jon Ronson has revealed that he used to reference his former rivalry with Louis Theroux in his work as he did not want to sound like he was “beyond reproach”.

The 55-year-old writer and broadcaster has produced podcasts, programmes and books which tell stories about people on the fringes of society, similar to Theroux’s work.

Speaking on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, he confirmed he is now friends with Theroux, but at times he stills like to let people know that he feels he was exploring these topics before his fellow filmmaker.

Louis Theroux comments
Louis Theroux (Matt Crossick/PA)

He said: “I’ve never wanted to be high up in some kind of hierarchy. I’ve never wanted to be the representative of righteous society, going into the world of the crazy people and being the right person.

“Like I’m right, they’re wrong. I’ve never wanted to be that. Hence, the fact that I’ve quite often put in my own absurdities into stories.

“In the 1990s, me and Louis though had a bit of a rivalry. And even though it was kind of embarrassing that we had this rivalry I would talk about it because it was so absurd.

“I used to have this joke on stage that me and Louis were like conjoined twins and for one of us to grow stronger, the other one had to die.

“But I would deliberately put those things in for that reason, like I didn’t want to be the sensible one who’s beyond reproach.”

Ronson has produced a number of works which investigate controversial figures and groups including his books Them: Adventures With Extremists and So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.

Theroux has also had a 25-year career exploring topics from the world of neo-Nazi cults to the Church of Scientology.

Broadcasting Press Guild Awards – London
Jon Ronson (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Broadcaster Ronson said that he now thinks the world of Theroux following the years of rivalry.

He said: “I luckily matured my way out of that destructive thought spiral.

“And it’s so nice to sit and watch one of Louis’ documentaries and not feel anything other than just joy watching it.”

However, he admitted that at times he has reminded people that he believes he was exploring these topics before Theroux, including one time to a British Embassy member.

He recalled having to call the embassy once when he was being followed by the Bilderberg Group and when they did not understand what he meant by calling himself a humanist journalist, he had to say “I’m a bit like Louis Theroux”.

Ronson noted that when that provided the embassy with clarity, he told them: “But actually, I was doing it first.”

He joked: “I thought this could be the last conversation I have, I could die, I was going to use my last breaths on earth (for this)”.

– The full interview with Jon Ronson on Desert Island Discs will air on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds on Sunday at 11am.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]