What we've learned from reality TV inquiry and released Jeremy Kyle show documents

The bosses of ITV and The Jeremy Kyle Show have appeared in front of MPs as part of an inquiry into reality TV following the death of a participant.

The inquiry was launched by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee after the death of Steve Dymond, who had failed a lie detector test on The Jeremy Kyle Show.

ITV axed The Jeremy Kyle Show – a fixture in its schedule for 14 years – in May, following Mr Dymond's death.

  • Social Affairs Editor Penny Marshall says more is now being done to protect the mental health of participants in reality TV shows, and that Dame Carolyn McCall, the Chief Executive of ITV, has said all broadcasters could learn lessons and should review procedures

Here's what we've learned from the inquiry so far and the release of new documents.

  • Watch as ITV and Jeremy Kyle bosses give evidence at the inquiry

Jeremy Kyle 'strongly believed' in lie detectors despite not being 100% accurate:

One of the show's executive producers revealed presenter Mr Kyle "strongly believed in the" lie detector tests but admitted that the results are "not 100% accurate".

Tom McLennan, one of the executive producers of the show, told the committee: "We've always made it very, very clear to viewers and participants of the show that the lie detector is not 100% accurate."

He added however that "Jeremy did have a strong opinion about the lie detector. He's got very strong views.... He strongly believed in the tests."

Committee chairman Damian Collins said show bosses should have known more about the accuracy of tests and criticised them as "irresponsible" for using them.

He said: "The disclaimer doesn't mean very much, does it? It's being presented as black and white... That's causing considerable distress."

He added: "If it wasn't for the lie-detector test, we might not be sitting here today."

He said it was "astonishing" that "you don't know itself what the range is, in terms of the likeliness of getting a true accurate reading.... I'm disappointed that you can't do that."

Mr McLennan responded, saying he was "not a lie-detector expert".

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

Guests were "kept apart" from fellow participants before appearing on the show:

Participants on the now-axed programme are given a document explaining that they would be kept apart from the people that they would eventually confront, documents published ahead of the select committee revealed.

“During the whole of the run-up to filming you will be kept apart from anyone you are to confront on the show,” it said.

“This is as much for your safety and peace of mind as anything else.

“While security will be on hand to help calm any arguments that may flare up we also feel it best to do what we can to prevent them in the first place.

“If you knew of two people who argued constantly wouldn’t you want to keep them separated before they can begin to get the help Jeremy offers?”

Boss of ITV tried to protect show by halting filming following guest's death:

The boss of ITV defended sending an email to staff about "protecting" The Jeremy Kyle Show.

Dame Carolyn McCall told ITV staff, in an email, that the decision to halt filming of the controversial programme was "the best way we think we can protect the show and the production team" from the reaction to Steve Dymond's death.

Dame Carolyn McCall, boss of ITV, explained why she sent the email. Credit: Parliament TV

ITV chief executive Dame Carolyn told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee her message was an "internal email".

"Everybody at ITV was extremely sorry to have heard that someone who had appeared on the show had died in quite close proximity to appearing on the show. It created shockwaves," she said.

"I was trying to say, we are going to go through this calmly and in a measured way."

She said: "It was an internal email sent to specific individuals working at the sharp end.

"They were harassed by the media. It has been a very difficult time for people who worked on the show."

She said: "A number of factors made it untenable for the show to continue. We will learn from this and we will improve everything we do as a result of learning."

Participants were warned Mr Kyle "can be very critical of people":

The released documents also show guests are warned about the host’s “presenting style” before they recorded the programme.

A document handed to them before their appearance asks: "Are you aware of Jeremy’s presenting style?

“Do you understand that he may not agree with your point of view on certain things?

“Do you understand that he can be very critical of people if he thinks they are in the wrong?”

The show's director of aftercare Graham Stanier told the inquiry he was not responsible for Kyle's style.

The show's director of aftercare Graham Stanier said he is not responsible for Mr Kyle's style. Credit: Parliament TV

"That is the presenter's style. I'm responsible for me and my behaviour. I can't be responsible for the presenter's behaviour," he told MPs.

"In the moment he (Kyle) becomes passionate, opinionated, he will deliver in that way.

"If people are uncomfortable ... I think that's a production issue."

The Jeremy Kyle Show or similar will not return to ITV:

Asked if there were any plans to bring the show back, Julian Bellamy, ITV Studios managing director, said there were "absolutely no plans to bring back a show that looks or feels like a Jeremy Kyle show".

MPs were told: "Jeremy Kyle has been involved in all sorts of programmes. Yes, we would look to work with him in the future ... We won't be making another conflict resolution show."

Dame McCall added: "We will not commission a show in the future in this way, in this format, using lie detector tests."

She said of host Jeremy Kyle: "We will work with him but not on a talk show, not on a show of this ilk in any way."