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ITV Studios accused of corporate failure of responsibility over Jeremy Kyle Show

ITV Studios has been accused of corporate failure of responsibility over its Jeremy Kyle Show. Credit: PA

MPs have accused The Jeremy Kyle Show of "exploiting" vulnerable guests for the purposes of entertainment after a whistleblower gave them behind-the-scenes footage.

The footage shows guests being filmed backstage and in dressing rooms.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, which is investigating reality TV, said the footage "makes a mockery of the ‘aftercare’ it has claimed to provide".

The vulnerability of participants on The Jeremy Kyle Show was being "exploited" for the "purpose of entertainment," MPs said.

Presenter Kyle would "sometimes (use) abusive language" which "could be edited out of the broadcasted show", they added.

Expert advisers viewed the footage and expressed deep concerns at a level of "humiliation, denigration and provocation that a participant is subjected" to.

Particular concerns were raised over failures to prioritise the welfare of participants, in one case a young man who is heard punching a wall, they said.

Committee chairman Damian Collins said: “It is clear that once the cameras started rolling on The Jeremy Kyle Show there was no safe space for anyone in a highly distressed state, verified by the behind-the-scenes footage passed to the committee by a whistleblower.

Former Jeremy Kyle Show participants Robert Gregory and Dwayne Davison previously giving evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee. Credit: PA

"We’ve seen one contributor who was extremely upset take refuge backstage only to have a camera thrust in his face to capture him holding his head in his hands.

"We’ve also seen how Jeremy Kyle would use provocative and sometimes abusive language towards participants in the show, and that this could be edited out of the broadcasted show.

"The overriding concern of the reality TV inquiry has been to examine the production companies’ duty of care towards people who take part, often at an extremely vulnerable point in their lives.

"We’ve shown this recording to expert advisers who are deeply concerned at ITV’s apparent failure to prioritise the welfare of participants over the demands of the show, exploiting their vulnerability for the purpose of entertainment.

"What we’ve seen demonstrates a failure on the part of ITV Studios in its responsibility towards contributors and makes a mockery of the ‘aftercare’ it has claimed to provide."

Responding to the report, ITV said it could not comment on the accusations because the select committee had not shared the whistleblower’s footage with them.

It added: “ITV cancelled The Jeremy Kyle Show in May. We have since made clear that we will not bring back the Jeremy Kyle Show, or any other show resembling its format.

“The physical and mental health of everyone we work with is our highest priority and ITV is committed to working across the industry – including with other broadcasters, Pact and our regulator Ofcom – to share best practice and continue to strengthen and evolve our Duty of Care processes.

“The participation of the public in television programmes has been right at the heart of TV since it began.

“We believe that these shows are all the better for the talent, energy and diversity of the members of the public who take part in them and we are committed to continuing to ensure that their welfare is also at the heart of what we do.”

ITV axed The Jeremy Kyle Show in May, following the death of participant Steve Dymond.

Fellow ITV show Love Island also came under increased scrutiny over the aftercare it offered following the deaths of former contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis.

Presenter Kyle has been asked to appear before MPs but has not done so.

Production company ITV Studios, which produced The Jeremy Kyle Show, is owned by ITV.