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Inquiry into reality TV shows after ITV cancels The Jeremy Kyle Show over death of guest Steve Dymond

An inquiry has begun into reality TV programmes after The Jeremy Kyle Show was permanently cancelled by ITV. Credit: Press Association

An inquiry has begun into reality TV programmes after The Jeremy Kyle Show was permanently cancelled by ITV following the death of a guest.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee "will consider production companies' duty of care to participants", committee chairman Damian Collins announced.

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The Jeremy Kyle Show was suspended indefinitely on Monday by the broadcaster following the apparent suicide of Steve Dymond, a week after he took part in filming.

ITV's CEO confirmed its axing on Wednesday morning following widespread calls to bring the programme off air permanently rather than temporarily.

Dame Carolyn McCall said: "Given the gravity of recent events we have decided to end production of The Jeremy Kyle Show."

Mr Collins praised ITV for making the "right decision" but said "that should not be the end of the matter" as he outlined the key questions for an independent review to probe.

The questions the review wants answered by reality TV programmers. Credit: Damian Collins/Twitter

News of the inquiry came as more details emerged of Mr Dymond's appearance on The Jeremy Kyle Show.

The 63-year-old took a lie-detector test to convince fiance Jane Callaghan he had not been unfaithful but they split after he failed, it has been reported.

Steve Dymond died after appearing on The Jeremy Kyle Show. Credit: Facebook

Ms Callaghan told The Sun newspaper: "We got engaged Christmas Day 2017. He was crying, the love was real. He was the most generous and loving person.

"He was quietly struggling and we didn’t know at the time. He cheated on me, I know he did. I can’t forgive but I just want him to be alive."

She praised the show’s team for their after-care efforts, telling the newspaper: "They were brilliant. They were there when he needed help. They were really persistent in offering him help."

Despite Ms Callaghan defending the show and its after-care, ITV CEO Ms McCall admitted "now is the right time for the show to end" after 14 years.

Ms McCall added: "Everyone at ITV's thoughts and sympathies are with the family and friends of Steve Dymond."

  • Jeremy Kyle seen for the first time since the show was taken off-air:

The news of the show's axing came amid criticism of the show by politicians and members of the public.

Tory MP Charles Walker, a vice-chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on suicide and self-harm prevention, branded it “cruel television”.

He said: "When you take highly strung - often vulnerable – people, you put them under a huge amount of pressure.

"Yes it makes good television but it also makes for cruel television as well."

Jim Waterson, Media Editor at The Guardian, questions how "ITV will deal with other reality shows".

He said: "The show has been on for 15 years with the same format, doing exactly the same thing with the same treatment of guests.

"So the issue now is how they deal with other reality shows on the network, things like Love Island which is due to return next month and has also had a lot of criticism for how it looks after contestants after they've been on the programme."

Theresa May's official spokesman said Mr Dymond's death highlighted the need for support for guests.

He said: "Broadcasters and production companies have a responsibility for the mental health and well-being of participants and viewers of their programmes.

"We are clear they must have appropriate levels of support in place."

Jeremy Kyle has been on air with his self-titled show since 2005. Credit: PA

Despite being referred to as a "modern day freak show" by many social media users for "exploiting guests", several past guests have spoken out in defence of the programme.

Dee Kelly, who appeared on Benefit Street and went on the celebrity version of the show in February, praised the show and its team for the support provided.

She said: "It was a very positive experience for me and we got a lot of pre-show care as well as after show care.

"You had the producers and the runners and everyone was absolutely brilliant, you'd come in and they were talking to you."

ITV said a review of the episode featuring Mr Dymond is underway and the broadcaster will continue to work with Jeremy Kyle on other projects.