Socialist Worker

Jeremy Kyle and television’s grim reality

Issue No. 2654

TV reality show host Jeremy Kyle

TV reality show host Jeremy Kyle (Pic: University of Salford Press Office/Flickr)

The Jeremy Kyle TV show has been suspended after a guest died just days after filming an episode.

Steven Dymond died in a suspected suicide. Friends and family report him being in extreme distress after filming the show.

It follows suicides by two former Love Island contestants in the past year. Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis both appeared on the reality programme where contestants have to form romantic partnerships to win a cash prize. Jeremy Kyle, Love Island and other programmes are based on ordinary people exposing their problems and vulnerabilities for the voyeuristic pleasure of viewers.

On Jeremy Kyle, the complicated lives of ordinary people are thrown up in the air.

Life-changing situations are reduced to sensationalist revelations to keep viewers watching.

Ordinary people in distress are pitted against each other. The real winners are channels that are happy to charge a fortune for advertising time during the popular programmes.

TV psychologist Honey Langcaster-James defended “well meaning” producers.

But she said, “They don’t always know what are good services, and what aren’t good services or, for example, and what’s the difference between a psychologist, a psychotherapist and a counsellor.”

Ignorance about providing mental health support is a poor excuse when people are dying.

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