“The Jeremy Kyle Show” — a popular but divisive British tabloid program that’s often been called the British version of “The Jerry Springer Show” — has been canceled indefinitely after the death of a guest who had failed a lie-detector test during a recent taping.
British broadcaster ITV said Wednesday that it decided to cancel the program after the guest, Steven Dymond, 63, was found dead in an apparent suicide soon after the taping of an episode on infidelity, according to ITV News. During the episode, Dymond was given a polygraph test intended to prove that he had not been disloyal to his fiancee but failed, ITV News reported.
A contestant on the show told BBC News that Dymond and his fiancee were devastated when Kyle announced the results and that Dymond collapsed to the ground, sobbing.
His death prompted widespread calls for the show’s cancellation, including from several members of Parliament. BBC News reported that Prime Minister Theresa May’s office also weighed in, saying, “Broadcasters and production companies have a responsibility for the mental health and wellbeing of participants and viewers of their programmes.”
On Wednesday, ITV pulled the plug.
“Given the gravity of recent events we have decided to end production of ‘The Jeremy Kyle Show,’ ” the company’s chief executive, Carolyn McCall, said in a statement.
McCall said the program “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.”
As speculation mounted about the show’s possible cancellation, British tabloids went into overdrive on Wednesday morning.
“Kyle on Trial,” read the front page of the Sun.
“Theatre of Cruelty,” proclaimed the headline of the Daily Mirror.
The response was swift on social media, where many people argued that the cancellation could not have come at a better time — during Mental Health Awareness Week in Britain. Some people noted that programs such as Kyle’s prey on vulnerable people and exploit mental health issues, and they argued that it is time for the show to stop benefiting from the misfortune and unfortunate circumstances of those who are struggling.
“The Jeremy Kyle Show” has seen intense family showdowns, relationship breakups and brutal DNA revelations. Episodes included “My husband slept with my daughter! Lie detector results” and “I’ll disown my son if he’s back on drugs” and “You claimed you had 4 women pregnant at the same time, was I one of them?”
Kyle, the host, was often criticized for his treatment of guests, and one episode showed him knocked to his knees as a brawl broke out between guests.
But despite how divisive the show has been, or maybe because of it, it remained popular for 14 years.
After the show’s cancellation, some people took to Twitter to turn up the heat on ITV and pressure it to pull the plug on another popular program, “Love Island.” Watched by millions, the reality show sees young singles coupling up in a bid to find love and stay on the Spanish island of Majorca — as the public watches, tweets and debates their every move.
The new season of “Love Island” is expected to begin next month, despite anger and widespread concern over the suicides of two former contestants, Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Gradon.
“Absolutely right that Jeremy Kyle has finally been axed but surely Love Island is every bit as toxic and irresponsible,” one person tweeted.
Hassan reported from London.