ITV axes Jeremy Kyle Show after death of participant

Broadcaster decides to ditch programme permanently after death of guest Steve Dymond

 The Jeremy Kyle Show was taken off air on Monday following the death of participant Steve Dymond. Photograph: David Cotter/ITV

The Jeremy Kyle Show has been axed permanently by ITV after a participant died following an appearance on the show.

Steve Dymond was found dead last week after failing a lie-detector test on the long-running daytime programme, prompting the show to be taken off air on Monday.

Carolyn McCall, ITV’s chief executive, confirmed the show would not be returning. She said: “Given the gravity of recent events we have decided to end production of The Jeremy Kyle Show. The Jeremy Kyle Show has had a loyal audience and has been made by a dedicated production team for 14 years, but now is the right time for the show to end.

She said ITV would continue to work with Kyle on future projects. The broadcaster had initially stuck by the programme. McCall told staff on Monday the company had decided to cease production simply to “protect the show” and its production team.

However, ITV came under pressure from Downing Street, MPs and mental health charities to take action against the programme, which pitted troubled guests against each other under confrontational questioning from the eponymous host.

Former participants have told the Guardian they were manipulated by the programme’s producers after turning to it for free help with their personal issues. Some said their negative portrayal had prompted them to attempt suicide.

The decision to cancel the programme comes amid growing scrutiny of the aftercare offered to participants on reality TV programmes. There have also been calls for greater understanding of the impact that appearances – often exacerbated by clips circulating online for long after the initial broadcast – can have on the mental health of those who take part.
The Portsmouth coroner is expected to open an inquest into Dymond’s death in the coming days, after a postmortem that could shed light on the circumstances surrounding his death.

Dymond appeared on the show last week after the 63-year-old was accused of infidelity by his fiancee. The episode has not been broadcast.

One audience member told the BBC that Dymond was emotional. “He was crying from the beginning and he was so convinced he was going to pass this test,” said Babette Lucas-Marriott. “Jeremy brings out the lie-detector test and asked the audience who thinks he’s going to pass and 99% of the audience put their hand up.”

Kyle then told Dymond that he had failed the polygraph test.

Lucas-Marriott said: “You just saw him collapse to the ground. He couldn’t believe what he’d heard. He was begging his fiancee for forgiveness … They were just completely and utterly devastated. It was clear that he’d just lost his entire life with his fiancee there.”

The pair split up and Dymond was found dead several days later. Police are not treating the death as suspicious.

ITV has already faced scrutiny for how it supports contestants on its hit Love Island show, following several suicides. The broadcaster said it is reviewing the unaired episode of The Jeremy Kyle Show featuring Dymond.

The programme, produced in-house by ITV Studios in Salford, had been a mainstay of ITV’s daytime coverage since 2005 and regularly attracted more than 1 million viewers for its daily episodes.


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