Wendy Sloane, Journalism BA senior lecturer, comments on the axing of the Jeremy Kyle Show and the impact this has on young people and the media.
Date: 16 May 2019
"It's always sad when 'light entertainment' is made at the expense of the most vulnerable members of our communities. As a society we should have a duty to protect people who are struggling, not exploit their difficulties in front of a national audience.
"The recent suicide of guest Steven Dymond following his appearance on The Jeremy Kyle Show is just one example. Dymond went on telly to prove that he had been faithful to his fiancée, but a lie detector test showed otherwise.
"Other guests have also suffered after being on the show. The Guardian interviewed former Jeremy Kyle guest Dwayne Davison, labelled "the most hated guest ever" after also trying to prove he wasn't a cheat. Following the traumatic episode - and another one in which he tried to redeem himself – he suffered intense "public shaming", the Guardian said. Davison also said he received little aftercare from the show's makers – although it had been promised. Last year, he attempted suicide.
"Why did we allow public lie detector tests to determine whether someone is really the biological father of a child, or a serial cheat? Watching someone's world fall apart on air should not be classified as entertainment. Do we really need the type of daytime telly which pits real people against each other, and thrives on discord and discontent between friends and family members? I think not.
"The Jeremy Kyle Show was a commercial success. We need to take a long hard look at ourselves and ask why."