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‘Death is lurking’: Pete Doherty tells Louis Theroux he’s ‘a very sick man’

Musician says doctors have warned him about changing his diet or risk further health issues

Roisin O'Connor
Wednesday 15 November 2023 09:41 GMT
Pete Doherty tells Louis Theroux he’s ‘a very sick man’

Pete Doherty has admitted that years of drug and alcohol abuse have taken their toll on his body, telling documentary presenter Louis Theroux: “Death is lurking.”

The Libertines frontman, 44, was notorious in the Noughties and 2010s for his drug-fuelled public antics, and was arrested multiple times for possession.

Now mostly sober, Doherty is one of the subjects of new BBC series Louis Theroux Interviews…in which he discusses his colourful past and his new, quieter life in the small town of Etretat, Normandy.

At one point, while the pair sit in his studio, the musician got up to take a swig from a bottle of blackcurrent rum, then proceeded to cough and clutch his chest.

“Why has your voice gone like that? Are you OK?” Theroux asked, as Doherty leant over the table and appeared to groan in pain. “Did it go down the wrong way? What’s happening?”

“How’s your health in general?” Theroux asked, once Doherty had settled back down on the sofa.

“You are looking at a very sick man,” Doherty replied. “I’ve battered it, haven’t I, I’ve f***ing caned it.

“[The] heroin and the crack… I surrendered to that, and then it was cocaine and the smoking and the alcohol, and now it’s cheese and the saucisson, and the sugar in the tea.”

“It’s all gotta go. They told me a little while ago if you don’t change your diet then you’re gonna have diabetes and cholesterol problems,” he continued. “Death’s lurking, you know what I mean? That’s why I carry that stick.”

Pete Doherty was notorious for his drug-fuelled antics in the Noughties and 2010s (Getty Images)

Doherty seemed doubtful that he will live to see his daughter, Billie-May, grow up, telling Theroux he would love to hear her say her first words.

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“Maybe watch [her] grow up and start a family of her own. That’s 25 years,” Theroux suggested.

“That’s a stretch though, isn’t it,” a doubtful-looking Doherty responded.

Asked what he would tell someone curious about experimenting with drugs, he remarked: “My life in using was so chaotic and the consequences of [it]... you’ll be in prison and you’ll f*** your body up, and you’ll be skint, and you’ll lose your family and you’ll lose everything you love. Is it really that good? That’s beyond curiosity, that’s a right mess.”

“I still get tingles thinking about it, but I’m able to talk to you rather than running off and scoring,” he told Theroux.

Pete Doherty speaks to Louis Theroux (Ryan McNamara/BBC/Mindhouse Productions)

Doherty also revealed he currently takes blockers that would prevent heroin from taking effect: “I like to think I could do without it, but that level of trust has to be earnt, doesn’t it,” he said.

“At the moment I think I’m still reeling a bit – it’s almost like I’m still in shock from having got clean. Maybe in 10 years I’ll be able to talk with pride about being clean.”

In the same interview, Doherty discussed the unexplained death of Mark Blanco in 2006, which was the subject of another documentary released in September, and his complex relationship with Libertines bandmate Carl Barat.

The Libertines recently announced that their first new album in nine years, All Quiet On The Eastern Esplanade, will be released in March next year.

The Independent’s TV critic Nick Hilton gave Theroux’s new series three stars, writing: Theroux is undoubtedly capable of eliciting genuine feeling from his guests.

“Locked in a hotel room with Libertines bandmates Doherty and Carl Bârat, he pushes the combustible duo towards what must be their thousandth reconciliation.”

Louis Theroux Interviews... Pete Doherty airs tonight (14 November) at 9pm on BBC Two.

If you or someone you know is suffering from drug addiction, you can seek confidential help and support 24-7 from Frank, by calling 0300 123 6600, texting 82111, sending an email or visiting their website here.

In the US, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration can be reached at 1-800-662-HELP.

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