Long-Running TV Show Canceled After Guest Dies by Suicide
The controversial “Jeremy Kyle Show” was canceled Wednesday after a guest committed suicide following his failure to pass a lie-detector test during a recording.
The British reality television program was best-known for its heated encounters between couples and family members. Broadcaster ITV axed the long-running show “given the gravity of recent events,” according to Carolyn McCall, ITV chief executive, after 63-year-old Steve Dymond was found dead in his home May 9.
ITV axes The Jeremy Kyle show after the death of a guest who appeared on the programme.
The broadcaster says “now is the right time for the show to end”https://t.co/ZWeqCqtk3q pic.twitter.com/u9aRkD8lXw
— ITV News (@itvnews) May 15, 2019
Law enforcement ruled that the death was not suspicious. Dymond died after overdosing on prescription arthritis medication, according to The Sun.
On May 2, Dymond was featured on “The Jeremy Kyle Show,” confident that he could prove to his fiancée, Jane Callaghan, that he had remained faithful in their relationship. After taking a polygraph test, Kyle told the audience that Dymond had failed.
Despite arguing that he had never cheated on his fiancée and saying the test was wrong, Callaghan broke off the engagement after the show, The Sun reported.
Dymond’s death has reignited concern over reality TV shows putting too much stress and pressure on contestants.
“Jeremy Kyle consisted of putting vulnerable people from disadvantaged backgrounds in stocks to have eggs thrown at them,” Owen Jones, political activist and columnist for The Guardian, wrote.
Jeremy Kyle consisted of putting vulnerable people from disadvantaged backgrounds in stocks to have eggs thrown at them; it fuelled an agenda of demonising poorer people which helped legitimise cuts to the welfare state. Good riddance.
— Owen Jones? (@OwenJones84) May 15, 2019
Chairman Damian Collins of the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee announced Wednesday the panel would be reviewing “the duty of care support for people appearing in reality TV shows.”
“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,” Collins added.
Simon Wessely, a former head of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, also denounced reality TV shows because of their cruelty toward guests, The Independent reported. “It might entertain a million people a day, but then again, so did Christians versus lions,” he said.
Dymond’s suicide reveals another problem with tabloid-style TV shows, dramas and comedies over their love of polygraph tests. Lie-detector tests are based on inferring psychological responses, such as heart rate, respiration and sweat to an unstandardized series of questions.
Additionally, habitual liars can become desensitized to lying, which will not trigger an autonomic response, CNN noted. A polygraph could show a liar is not lying, while a person telling the truth who is just simply nervous could be reported as lying.
The American Psychological Association also argued that polygraph tests are occasionally misleading, finding that studies show only an 87% accuracy rate.
In Dymond’s instance, his ex-fiancée admitted that he was diagnosed with depression in February, and their engagement was on rocky terms after she accused him of cheating and lying, according to The Sun.
The episode with Dymond has not been aired.
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