In Depth

Why ITV axed The Jeremy Kyle Show

Death of guest Steve Dymond after failing lie-detector test was ‘watershed moment’ for popular programme

The Jeremy Kyle Show has been a staple of morning television for 14 years.

Famous for its DNA tests, lie detectors and on-screen fighting, the programme was the most popular in ITV’s daytime schedule, with an average of one million viewers.

But this week it was axed.

So what happened?

On Monday, ITV announced that it was conducting an internal review after a guest who failed a lie detector on the show died on 9 May, just a week after filming. The Sun reported that Steve Dymond, 63, was believed to have taken his own life, after splitting from his fiancee when the test appeared to indicate he had been unfaithful.

In the wake of his death, the show was suspended on ITV2, and all previous episodes were taken down from catch-up service ITV Hub.

Public outcry

Tory MP Charles Walker, who has spoken before about his own mental health issues, described Dymond’s death as a “watershed moment” and urged ITV to cancel the show permanently. This call was echoed by other politicians, journalists and psychologists.

Fellow Conservative MP Simon Hart said it was “car-crash TV which revels in people’s terrible misfortune and sometimes their vulnerabilities”, The Guardian reports.

Behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings told the newspaper: “It’s an archaic kind of show, it probably was when it was first commissioned, but now it seems very out of step with our attitude with mental health issues.”

Ofcom said it would be speaking to ITV about what had happened, and Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee said it would be holding a private meeting about reviewing the duty of care for reality TV participants.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said Dymond’s death was “deeply concerning”.

ITV pulls the plug

In a statement today, ITV said that it had decided to end production of the show “given the gravity of revent events”.

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,” it said.

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

The broadcaster confirmed that it would continue to work with Kyle on other projects.

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