- An “exploitative” British chat show which saw families argue about their darkest and most shocking secrets has been permanently taken off air after a guest died.
- 63-year-old Steve Dymond appeared on show to take a lie-detector test in an attempt to prove he had not been unfaithful to his ex-fianceé, but failed the test.
- He was found dead soon after he appeared on the show, having died in an apparent suicide.
- “The Jeremy Kyle Show” is staged like a traditional live-audience chat show, while the self-titled host pressures guests to come clean about often lurid allegations including infidelity and substance abuse. It frequently featured lie-detectors and DNA tests.
- ITV CEO Dame Carolyn McCall said Wednesday: “Given the gravity of recent events we have decided to end production of The Jeremy Kyle Show.”
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A British chat show described as “exploitative” and “manipulative” has been permanently taken off the air after a guest died in an apparent suicide days after appearing on the programme.
ITV’s “The Jeremy Kyle Show” invites families and couples on to get to the bottom of domestic issues. Most episodes culminate in DNA tests to identify a child’s father, or a with lie-detector tests to catch alleged infidelities. The show’s format was similar to US productions like “Maury” and “The Jerry Springer Show.”
On May 9, Steve Dymond, 63, was found dead in an apparent suicide, ITV News reported.
He had appeared on show to take a lie-detector test in an attempt to prove he had not been unfaithful to his ex-fianceé, but failed the test. The episode of the show featuring Dymond was not aired by ITV.
Jane Callaghan, Dymond’s former partener told The Sun the pair had split in February, before he failed the test, and that Dymond wanted to redeem himself.
On Wednesday, ITV CEO Dame Carolyn McCall said: “Given the gravity of recent events we have decided to end production of The Jeremy Kyle Show.”
“The Jeremy Kyle Show” had been a UK daytime TV staple since 2005, and has historically attracted criticism for pitting typically working-class people against each other for public entertainment.
The show’s topics ranged from the farcical to the extremely serious, with segments titled with phrases such as: “Your boyfriend killed my hamster!” and “Leave your fiancé, he had sex with me in a graveyard!”
It averaged around one million viewers per episode.
A Manchester judge labelled the show a “human form of bear baiting” in 2006, after a man found out he was not the father of his wife’s baby and later pointed a loaded air rifle at her.
An anonymous ex-producer of the show told the Metro newspaper: “I think it should be axed. It’s exploitative, it’s manipulative. I don’t think these people genuinely care about the people who come on the show.”
Callaghan told The Sun: “He was the most generous and loving person.”
“He was quietly struggling and we didn’t know at the time. He cheated on me, I know he did. I can’t forgive but I just want him to be alive.”
She told the Sun “[ITV] were brilliant. They were there when he needed help. They were really persistent in offering him help.”
ITV has deleted all on-demand episodes of the show, and have begun removing official clips of the show from YouTube.
British politicians lambasted the show in the wake of Dymond’s death, and a spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May told the BBC it was “deeply disturbing.”
He added: “Broadcasters and production companies have a responsibility for the mental health and wellbeing of participants and viewers of their programmes.”
“We are clear they must have appropriate levels of support in place.”
Guests on the show weren’t paid, but were allowed expenses, and often plied with cigarettes, and beer, an ex-producer told the Guardian in 2007.
Charles Walker, a Conservative MP, told the BBC guests on the show were “not really guests, they’re victims.”
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