Jeremy Kyle 'utterly devastated' that his show has been axed after guest's 'suicide'

Jeremy Kyle 'utterly devastated' that his show has been axed after guest's 'suicide'

JEREMY Kyle says he is “utterly devastated” that his TV show has been axed.

The daytime star’s series was scrapped today after the suspected suicide of participant Steve Dymond, 63.

Jeremy said: “Myself and the production team are all utterly devastated.”

It came after dad-of-one Steve was branded a paedophile by his estranged wife.

The daytime ratings hit, axed after the suspected suicide of a participant, will now be part of a major review of reality TV announced today by MPs.

Host Jeremy, 53, said only that he was devastated at the decision to pull his programme after 14 years.

But insiders believe ITV boss Dame Carolyn McCall was looking for an excuse to kill it off.

One ITV source explained: “Carolyn and some of the other senior executives always thought the Kyle show was a thorn in the side of daytime — the format was very negative and in this day and age had become a bit toxic.

“It wasn’t fluffy and wholesome like the other shows but it was hugely popular — the best rated programme across the whole day until tea time.
“It would have been extremely brave to axe it out of nowhere, so a controversy gave them a reason to do it.”

Jeremy Kyle's statement

“Myself and the production team I have worked with for the last 14 years are all utterly devastated by the recent events.

“Our thoughts and sympathies are with Steve’s family and friends at this incredibly sad time.”

The show was pulled off air on Monday following the death of father-of-one Steve Dymond, 63.

He appeared on the show to try to prove to fiancée Jane Callaghan, 48, that he had not cheated on her but failed a lie detector test.

The couple split shortly afterwards and ten days later was found dead from a suspected drug overdose in his Portsmouth bedsit.

Today, ITV announced the programme was being axed.

ITV statement

“Given the gravity of recent events we have decided to end production of The Jeremy Kyle Show.

“The 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.”

In a statement, Dame Carolyn said: “Given the gravity of recent events we have decided to end production of The Jeremy Kyle Show.

“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.

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

Jeremy told The Sun: “Myself and the production team I have worked with for the last 14 years are all utterly devastated by the recent events. Our thoughts and sympathies are with Steve’s family and friends at this incredibly sad time.”

MPs' statement

“There needs to be an independent review of the duty of care TV companies have to participants in reality TV shows.

“With an increasing demand for this type of programme, we’ll be examining broadcasting regulation in this area.”

But friends of the host say he feels the decision, which also follows the death of two Love Island contestants, was taken too hastily.

An insider added: “Jez has always been proud of the values of the show and the aftercare that guests receive. For many participants, appearing on his show has changed their lives for the better and there have been literally tens of thousands of people come through that process.

“To end things like this after so many successful years feels a massive shame. He’s gutted things have worked out like this. It’s as if he has been made a scapegoat for this very serious issue.”

However, the controversy triggered MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee to launch an inquiry into reality TV.

It will consider whether new laws are needed to toughen up the duty of care programme producers have towards their participants.

Reality TV had already been rocked by the deaths of former Love Island contestants Mike Thalassitis, 26 and Sophie Gradon, 32.

Committee chair and Tory MP Damian Collins said the cancellation of the Jeremy Kyle’s show was “not the end of the matter”.

He added: “Programmes like The Jeremy Kyle Show risk putting people who might be vulnerable on to a public stage at a point in their lives when they are unable to foresee the consequences, either for themselves or their families.

‘Awful to watch’

TWO students in the audience for the Steve Dymond episode said it should have been axed before he died.

Babette Lucas-Marriott, 20, pictured, and Victoria Treiber, 19, thought seeing it live would be “fun”.

Victoria said on arrival the crew gave them instructions on how to react. They then heard how Steve was suspected of cheating and it was initially “funny and light-hearted”.

But it took a sinister turn when Steve came on crying. Victoria said: “People realised it was more serious than what they expected.”

When Jeremy Kyle later revealed he failed the test, Steve “crumbled in complete and utter shock”. Victoria said: “There was no place for a live audience in that situation. It didn’t feel like entertainment.”

Babette said: “It was awful to watch. I don't understand why it’s taken this to happen for people to realise the concept behind the show is not OK.”

By Richard Moriarty

“This kind of TV featuring members of the public attracts viewing figures in the millions but, in return for ratings, the broadcasters must demonstrate their duty of care to the people whose personal lives are being exposed.

“With an increasing demand for this type of programming, we’ll be examining broadcasting regulation in this area — is it fit for purpose?”

Minister for Suicide Prevention, Jackie Doyle-Price, added: “I think it is time that we all think about what we choose to watch on TV and what we consider entertainment.

“Reality TV is popular but it can be manipulative and can leave people very vulnerable. We have become a nation of voyeurs.”

Despite its decision, ITV confirmed it would continue to work with Jeremy and he remains under contract for shows such as documentary series The Kyle Files and other prospective ideas.

The star earns a reported £2million a year as part of a deal which is believed to expire in 2020. But behind-the-scenes production staff are understood to be furious that bosses have pulled the plug.

One worker said: “Everyone’s a bit confused and some have immediately started applying for other things. The staff have been hung out to dry basically.”

ITV colleagues were quick to defend Jeremy’s record after 3,320 episodes and around 27,000 guests.

Good Morning Britain co-host Piers Morgan said: “As everyone piles in on Jeremy Kyle, I’d like to say he’s a great guy, an excellent broadcaster, and hugely popular with the vast majority of people who watched and appeared voluntarily on his top-rated show. So much snobbery and hypocrisy being spewed by his critics.”

Former EastEnders actress Danniella Westbrook, 45, who appeared on The Jeremy Kyle Show, praised the care she was given.

She told Channel 5’s Jeremy Vine Show: “If it wasn’t for Jeremy Kyle I probably wouldn’t be alive myself.”

She added: “They really have looked after me and you know, since I’ve been in rehab I’ve spoken to Jeremy all the time and when I went back on the show, I was reassessed I was really looked after.”

Nonetheless, the decision has left ITV with a hole in its schedules. Jeremy Kyle drew in up to 1million viewers a day and bosses have plugged the gap with David Dickinson’s Real Deal.

But the show has proved a turn-off, drawing an average of 360,000 viewers in its hour-long slot.

Sources say ITV executives are frantically looking at options to rescue their audience figures but have decided against extending favourites including This Morning.

ITV is also continuing its investigation into the episode in which Steve appeared.

On Wednesday, TV regular Ofcom said that, despite the cancellation of the show, it still wanted to review the findings. It said in a statement: “While ITV has decided to cancel the programme, its investigation into what happened is continuing and we will review the findings carefully.

It’s vital that people taking part in reality and factual shows are properly looked after.

“We’re examining whether more can be done to safeguard the welfare of those people, similar to the duty of care we have in the Broadcasting Code to protect under-18s.

“Any changes must be helpful and effective, so we’ll speak to programme participants, broadcasters, producers and psychologists before finalising any new guidance.”

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