MPs have accused ITV Studios of failing in its ‘corporate responsibility’ to guests on The Jeremy Kyle Show after reviewing behind-the-scenes footage that “makes a mockery of the ‘aftercare’ it has claimed to provide”.
The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee looked over the verified video as part of its Reality TV inquiry, which began when the morning show was axed in May following the death of former participant Steve Dymond.
Committee chairman Damian Collins told the Press Association that the clips they witnessed were presented to them by a “whistleblower” and proved “that once the cameras started rolling on The Jeremy Kyle Show, there was no safe space for anyone in a highly distressed state.
“We’ve seen one contributor who was extremely upset take refuge backstage only to have a camera thrust in his face to capture him holding his head in his hands,” he continued. “We’ve also seen how Jeremy Kyle would use provocative, and sometimes abusive, language.”
Collins added that particularly heated exchanges were often edited out of the final broadcast, before going on to say that it was clear “extremely vulnerable” guests were being “exploited for the purpose of entertainment.”
He assured fellow MPs that the recording was passed on to expert advisers who were left “deeply concerned” by what they saw.
“What we’ve seen demonstrates a failure on the part of ITV Studios in its responsibility towards contributors,” Collins concluded.
In September, former The Jeremy Kyle Show guests Robert Gregory and Dwayne Davison gave evidence at a court hearing that was organised to discuss both the chat show and ITV2 reality series Love Island.
"I wished I could die. It has ruined my life,” Davison told MPs at the time. "I can't escape what he has done to me. It's like getting a dog and winding it up, getting another dog and winding it up, and setting them on each other.”
Responding to the allegations, a spokesperson told Metro that ITV “is committed to working across the industry – including with other broadcasters, PACT and [its] regulator Ofcom – to share best practice and continue to strengthen and evolve [its] Duty of Care processes.
“The participation of the public in television programmes has been right at the heart of TV since it began.”