Jeremy Kyle: ITV urged to ditch show after guest kills himself

Broadcaster under pressure to drop show after death of guest who failed lie-detector test

 The Jeremy Kyle Show was criticised by one Tory MP as ‘an unattractive form of television, based on the bullying of the weak and vulnerable’. Photograph: David Cotter/ITV

ITV has been urged to permanently pull the Jeremy Kyle Show after a guest who failed a lie-detector test on the programme killed himself.

The talkshow was suspended indefinitely by the broadcaster after a guest, named by the Sun as 63-year-old Steve Dymond, died a week after filming.

Dymond took a lie-detector test to convince fiancee Jane Callaghan he had not been unfaithful but they split after he failed the test.

ITV said staff at the broadcaster and the show’s production team were “shocked and saddened” at the death and the episode would be reviewed.

The Conservative MP Charles Walker, a vice-chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on suicide and self-harm prevention, called for the show to be pulled.

Walker described it as “an unattractive form of television, based on the bullying of the weak and vulnerable”, adding the show’s format is “not compatible with a responsible society and a responsible broadcaster”.

He added: “I do think the Jeremy Kyle show and those involved will feel a sense of responsibility and a sense of grief, clearly not on the same scale as this man’s family. As human beings with their own family, perhaps now they will decide this too can’t continue.”.

Damian Collins, the chairman of the Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee, said TV companies “have a duty to care for the people who take part in their programmes”, while the Conservative MP Simon Hart, who also sits on the committee, described the show as “car-crash TV which revels in people’s terrible misfortune and sometimes their vulnerabilities”.

Honey Langcaster-James, a TV psychologist who has worked on ITV shows including Love Island, said: “I think that the format of the Jeremy Kyle Show is one that we could and should be moving away from.”

She added: “It is possible to make entertaining TV that does not revolve around the potential humiliation of guests who are suffering from a variety of difficulties, such as addiction.”

The behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings, who has worked for shows including Big Brother, said it was time for ITV to decommission the programme. “It’s an archaic kind of show, it probably was when it was first commissioned, but now it seems very out of step with our attitude with mental health issues.”

Callaghan said Dymond had been “quietly struggling”, but praised the show’s team for their after-care efforts. She told the Sun: “They were brilliant. They were there when he needed help. They were really persistent in offering him help.”

Callaghan said that shortly before they went on the show, Dymond had convinced her he had not cheated, but the pair split up afterwards.

ITV did not show Monday morning’s episode and has wiped all previous episodes from its on-demand service, the ITV Hub. They will also not be shown on ITV2.

A celebrity edition starring the former X Factor contestant Christopher Maloney and ex-EastEnders actor Danniella Westbrook was due to air on Tuesday, but will be rescheduled, according to both.

The broadcaster said the episode featuring the participant who died would be submitted for a review due to the “seriousness of this event”.

In the talkshow, which has had a regular daytime morning slot on ITV since 2005, host Kyle and psychotherapist Graham Stanier help the guests talk through their personal issues in front of a studio audience.

In 2014, the regulator Ofcom criticised the show for not doing enough to prevent the distress and humiliation of a 17-year-old guest who was called a “crackhead” and a “silly anorexic slapper” by her older sister.


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