Long-running ITV daytime series The Jeremy Kyle Show was axed back in 2019, following the death of one of the participants on the series, Steve Dymond.
After filming an episode for the much-loved TV show, Dymond took his own life following the results of a lie detector test, which host Kyle claimed proved he had been cheating on his partner, Jane Callaghan.
He wasn’t the only person to lose their life. Following the news that Dymond had committed suicide, so too did 31-year-old producer of the show, Natasha Reddican, after the show’s cancellation and her notice of redundancy.
Over one million people would tune in each weekday, as Kyle not only hosted the series, but took part in shouting matches with participants, calling them a number of derogatory names and patronising anybody who would dare step onto his set.
It was a formula that worked for over 14 years. Many of us would discuss with our friends and family the latest chaos to have taken place in front of the nation, as battles over addiction and family loyalty played out for our entertainment. And that’s the sad thing; it really was entertaining.
As a country, we were brainwashed into thinking that these working class people who appeared - or those who found themselves without a job - deserved the abhorrent treatment they would almost immediately receive upon walking onto Kyle’s show. If they weren’t working, they were obviously lazy. If they were addicted to drugs or alcohol, they were selfish and probably stealing from their nearest and dearest.
Sure, we may well have shed a couple of tears when on-air counsellor Graham Stanier walked out to offer them the help they so desperately needed, but that didn’t take away from the fact that just minutes before, we were laughing as Kyle verbally tore chunks from them, all with a sickly twisted grin on his face. Like an ancient coliseum audience, we wanted to see the destruction play out. It was our very own version of The Hunger Games.
So, when we look back and call for action against Kyle and all those who worked on the show, allegedly lying to participants about having to compete for a spot on the stage so that they could go to rehab, we must also take a moment to reflect on our own behaviour at the time.
The Jeremy Kyle Show would not have been on air for as long as it was, if we didn’t tune in each morning to watch. We all have a role to play in ensuring that this sort of entertainment never again sees the light of day. Because when the cameras stopped rolling and these participants were sent back to their homes, left picking up the pieces of their lives that ITV and Kyle had helped to expose, they had to deal with an immense amount of pain. It was that raw emotion that was on display throughout both parts of Channel 4’s documentary; we must never allow it to happen again.
Both episodes of Jeremy Kyle Show: Death on Daytime are now available to watch on All4.
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