As the BBC has reported, “ITV has suspended The Jeremy Kyle show after a guest died shortly after filming, and is conducting a review into the episode ‘given the seriousness of this event’ … The broadcaster took Monday's show off air and replaced it with a repeat of Dickinson's Real Deal … The participant from the episode died a week after recording it”.
We've been taken off air? Oh SHIT
The Beeb also helpfully tells “The show has been broadcast in its mid-morning slot since 2005. Its guests discuss relationship issues and conflicts with each other in front of Kyle's studio audience … It is well-known for its often heated debates, with Kyle mediating between guests”. Except it’s not really “mediating”, is it?
We know this as back in 2008, the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr got into a Kyle show audience and saw first hand how the show’s host, and its producers, played fast and loose with those who have a history of mental health issues, exploiting them in keeping ratings for this sub-Jerry Springer exhibition of public bear-baiting.
As she says, “Kyle's masterstroke is that he's not simply a presenter … he takes sides. He decides who is right and who is wrong. And then he gives his guests the wisdom of his opinions … like “'Stand up and be a man!' 'Heard of contraception? Put something on the end of it!' 'Call yourself a mother? You're a disgrace, love.' 'Who pays for your beer? You do? No, you don't! I pay for your beer! Me and every other taxpayer.’”
On that particular edition, she saw a young man with bipolar disorder and borderline schizophrenia ritually humiliated in front of an audience, few of whom had had been vetted - those in a nearby pub appear to have been decanted from the bar to make up the numbers - with ITV afterwards just batting off criticisms and concerns.
By that time, there had already been an on-screen incident that had ended up in court: “David Staniforth was fined £300 for headbutting another guest on The Jeremy Kyle Show during a row”. The trial judge was unimpressed. “It seems to me that the purpose of this show is to effect a morbid and depressing display of dysfunctional people whose lives are in turmoil … The people responsible for this, namely the producers, should in my opinion be in the dock with you, Mr Staniforth”. It’s not the only criminal case.
As Ms Cadwalladr notes, “In February , Craig Platt of Kimmel Bay, north Wales, who had previous convictions for offences including affray, found out live on the Jeremy Kyle Show through DNA testing that his baby wasn't actually his. A week later he pointed a loaded air rifle at his wife's head. He is currently serving an 18-month prison sentence for possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence”.
She also points out that there has been a death following a similar show in the USA. “In 1995, a male guest, Scott Amedure, appeared on the sub-Springer programme The Jenny Jones Show and admitted to a secret crush on his (male) best friend, Jonathan Schmitz. On camera, Schmitz laughed. Off camera, three days later, he shot and killed Amedure”.
One former ITV producer told her “if they truly screened for mental health issues, there would be no one on that show. Almost everyone who goes on it has some sort of issue”.
And now someone has died. Hell of a price to pay for the ratings.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at