British broadcaster ITV canceled its most popular daytime program, “The Jeremy Kyle Show,” on Wednesday over reports that a recent guest had died under unclear circumstances. The TV channel had suspended production on Tuesday. Some mass-circulation media have speculated that the guest committed suicide.
“Given the gravity of recent events we have decided to end production of The Jeremy Kyle Show,” chief executive Carolyn McCall said on Wednesday
“The Jeremy Kyle Show” boasts around 1 million viewers per episode and focuses on members of the British working class who argue family and relationship problems on air — a format more than a little reminiscent of “The Jerry Springer Show” in the US. Its producers have often been accused of encouraging conflict and violence in the studio. The show involves elements such as lie detector tests and DNA analysis.
Breaking up an engagement
Last week, 63-year-old digger driver Steve Dymond took a lie detector test during an episode recording. According to The Sun newspaper, he was attempting to prove to his fiancee that he had not cheated on her. However, Dymond failed the test and subsequently split up with his longtime partner.
He was found dead several days later.
On Tuesday, ITV said they would not show an episode with Dymond and that all further other recordings and airings have been suspended. All episodes have also been pulled from the internet.
“Everyone at ITV and The Jeremy Kyle Show is shocked and saddened at the news of the death of a participant in the show a week after the recording of the episode they featured in,” ITV said in a statement.
The show has drawn criticism several times since first going on air in 2005. In 2007, a Manchester judge described as “human bear-baiting” while sentencing a guest who physically attacked another participant of the program during recording. The guest had told the court that the show lied to him to get him to participate — for example by falsely claiming his wife was considering reconciliation or that his daughter threatened to cut off contact with his grandchild if he refused. He also said the host of the program tried to provoke him.
The judge, Alan Berg, said producers also deserved to face charges.
“This type of incident is exactly what the producers want,” he was quoted as saying by the Manchester Evening News.
Two years later, a man attacked his girlfriend at home, while they were watching an episode featuring the couple go to air.
The news of Dymond’s death and the show’s suspension on Tuesday come after two participants in another program, “Love Island,” committed suicide in recent months.
dj/sms (AFP, Reuters)
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