MPs launch probe into reality TV after death of Jeremy Kyle Show guest

Posted On: 
15th May 2019

MPs have launched a probe into the impact of reality TV following the death of a man who appeared on the Jeremy Kyle Show.

Jeremy Kyle's show ran from 2005 until 2019
PA Images

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee will look at whether TV companies offer enough support to potentially "vulnerable" participants before and after filming.

ITV announced on Wednesday that it was axeing the Jeremy Kyle Show after Steve Dymond was found dead on 9 May, a week after failing a lie detector test on the show.

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Two former contestants on Love Island, another ITV reality show, have also died in the past year.

The DCMS committee said it will look at whether shows should be forced to provide a more comprehensive duty of care to those involved and the possibility of stricter regulation to ensure it is enforced.

It will also look at what psychological support producers currently offer, whether the design of the shows puts “unfair psychological pressure” on participants and what the genre’s future is at a time of growing awareness around mental health issues.

DCMS committee chair Damian Collins MP said ITV’s decision to pull the Jeremy Kyle Show "should not be the end of the matter".

“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,” he said.

“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?”

A Downing Street spokesperson said yesterday that the death of Mr Dymond was "deeply concerning".

An ITV spokesperson earlier today said: "Given the gravity of recent events we have decided to end production of The Jeremy Kyle Show.

"Everyone at ITV's thoughts and sympathies are with the family and friends of Steve Dymond. The previously announced review of the episode of the show is under way and will continue."