MPs launch investigation into reality TV after Jeremy Kyle Show death

Jeremy Kyle on The Jeremy Kyle Show
The Jeremy Kyle Show has been suspended indefinitely (Picture: Rex Features)

Today MPs launched an investigation into reality TV after a guest on The Jeremy Kyle Show was found dead days after taping the programme.

Following the suspected suicide of Steven Dymond, the long-running show was axed permanently after 14 years, as many called for better aftercare for participants on these shows.

Now it’s been announced the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Committee will conduct a probe a week after the grandfather was found dead in his house in Portsmouth.

It also comes after the deaths of former Love Island contestants Sophie Gradon, 32, and Mike Thalassitis, 26, who both took their lives after finding fame via reality TV.

In announcing the inquiry, which will ‘consider production companies’ duty of care to participants’ DCMS Committee Chair Damian Collins MP said ITV made the right decision in cancelling Jeremy Kyle’s show.

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‘However, that should not be the end of the matter,’ his statement continued. ‘There needs to be an independent review of the duty of care TV companies have to participants in reality TV shows and the DCMS select committee has decided to hold an inquiry this summer into these issues.

Steven Dymond, who died after filming The Jeremy Kyle Show
Steven Dymond took his own life after filming an episode of The Jeremy Kyle Show
(Picture: NC)

‘Programmes like The Jeremy Kyle Show risk putting people who might be vulnerable on to a public stage at a point in their lives when they are unable to foresee the consequences, either for themselves or their families.

‘This kind of TV featuring members of the public attracts viewing figures in the millions but in return for ratings, the broadcasters must demonstrate their duty of care to the people whose personal lives are being exposed.

‘With an increasing demand for this type of programming, we’ll be examining broadcasting regulation in this area – is it fit for purpose?’

With public outcry in improving support for reality TV stars, the inquiry will look at what care is provided before, during and after production, as well as where there may be room for improvement.

Dymond appeared on the show earlier this month alongside his on/off partner and after failing a lie detector test was left feeling dejected and, according to his landlady, ‘humiliated’.

Previous guests on the programme were divided in their testimonial, with many saying it wasn’t a pleasant experience for them, while others praised the aftercare from producers. However, one former staffer alleged the backstage tactics used to rile guests up before appearing on camera, as they called aftercare ‘all for show’.

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Announcing the show’s cancellation today, ITV CEO Carolyn McCall, 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.

‘Everyone at ITV’s thoughts and sympathies are with the family and friends of Steve Dymond.’

MORE: Sophie Gradon’s mum slams ITV for ‘exploiting vulnerable people’ following Jeremy Kyle axe

MORE: Jeremy Kyle guest ‘ordered to wear tracksuit and called scum’ on The Jeremy Kyle Show

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