ITV's CEO Dame Carolyn McCall has said the broadcaster will not do a programme like The Jeremy Kyle Show again.
McCall made the comments as she addressed MPs during an inquiry into the future of public service broadcasting which comes after the ITV show was axed following the death of guest Steve Dymond.
The digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS) committee chairman, Julian Knight, spoke about behind-the-scenes footage from the show the committee had been shown, remarking: "Frankly they are outrageous, these were people who were taken off screen and presented with an individual who was meant to be a psychiatric counsellor and they were filmed during these processes.
“They were baited over a long period of time. My jaw is dropping at the lack of contrition here from ITV and from yourself as a chief executive.”
McCall argued that the shown had been on air for 15 years and had been regulated over that period, to which Knight replied: “Not well enough.”
He added: “I’m just astounded that you don’t accept the premise that this programme itself, although it ran for 15 years and seemingly was highly popular, it involved the psychological, not torture, but the psychological exposure of very vulnerable people … people who were out there in the public domain who should have not been in the public domain.
“I’m just surprised you can’t see that perhaps that was the wrong step and perhaps ITV should have ended it earlier, and perhaps we shouldn’t see its like on TV again.”
McCall said The Jeremy Kyle Show had been stopped “not because it had done anything out of regulation" but noted society had changed a lot since it first aired.
She told the committee: “It had not been criticised in the way that you (just) criticised it over that 15 years. I think a lot has changed; I think if you look at the show today you wonder how it could have been on for so long – I agree with you – but a lot has changed in that intervening period.”
McCall continued: “I’m proud of a range of things ITV does, I’m proud of ITV. That particular show did polarise opinion, everyone on that show knew what the show was, it was informed consent, it was adults, they went through a screening and vetting process, they went through quite a lot of hoops before they went on that show, but it was conflict resolution – it was not always comfortable to view, yet people viewed it.
“We have said that we will not be doing a show like The Jeremy Kyle Show again, we have been very clear about that, I have been very clear about that.”
The show came under fire due to scrutiny over the duty of care toward participants in real life television programmes.
Last year, the DCMS committee found behind-the-scenes footage of the show “made a mockery” of its aftercare.
With additional reporting by PA.