The ITV daytime show, which had been a regular fixture in the TV schedule since 2005, was cancelled following the death of Steve Dymond, who had participated in an episode (that was not aired) the week before he died.
In his Sunday Times column, The Grand Tour presenter asks: “What sort of show should be beamed into the plasma-filled homes of the fat and the unintelligent? Repeats of the Richard Dimbleby lectures?”
He adds: “I have not seen the Jeremy Kyle Show, but I have been in the Salford studios when it was being recorded, so I’ve seen the audience, none of whom has read Architectural Digest.
“It’s obvious from their leggings that what they want from a TV show is two overweight people slagging each other off until one is escorted from the studio by a security man the size of a Buick. This causes them to moo and low like farmyard animals, both in the studio and in council houses all the way from Wolverhampton to Carlisle. It’s modern-day Saturday afternoon wrestling.”
The former Top Gear presenter then takes aim at the “soft-left intelligentsia” who he says have plenty of things to keep them entertained.
“The bright and the sassy may moan about the dumbing-down of television, but they can go out for craft beer and a crafty vape at a whole-food restaurant tonight,” he writes.
“Plus, they have all sort of things on BBC4 to stimulate their neurological route map. And access to Netflix and Amazon and BT Sport and Sky.”
Clarkson then suggests The Jeremy Kyle Show should be replaced with something similar following “the ridiculously gleeful reaction to its demise”.
“It’s probably right the show is canned,” he writes. “But it should be replaced with something similar. Something with its eyebrows in its hairline.”
ITV will announce what will replace The Jeremy Kyle Show in the TV schedule in due course.
Following its cancellation, MPs announced an inquiry into reality TV. The Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS) will consider production companies’ duty of care to participants taking part in reality shows and explore whether enough support is offered both during and after filming.
DCMS committee chairman Damian Collins said ITV “has made the right decision to permanently cancel the Jeremy Kyle Show”, but “that should not be the end of the matter”.
Useful websites and helplines:
- Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
- Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
- The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0300 5000 927 (open Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on www.rethink.org.