Usually when a TV show gets cancelled, there’s no new series planned and any episodes that are already filmed and yet to be broadcast are shown as usual. However, it was different for The Jeremy Kyle Show. Not only were future series not commissioned, unseen episodes yet to be aired were canned and the show was completely wiped from online viewing platforms. In one fell swoop, the show was gone. The reason for the show’s cancellation was because a guest who had appeared on it recently went on to commit suicide. Steve Dymond, 63, went on the show and failed a polygraph test; it turned out he had actually cheated on his wife, when he’d previously claimed he hadn’t. Less than a week after filming the episode, Steve killed himself. Was it right for the show to be axed? Not at all and here’s why.
Comparisons have been made between The Jeremy Kyle Show and fellow ITV show Love Island, a hugely popular reality TV show now in its fifth series. During its fourth series, news broke out that series 2 contestant Sophie had killed herself; her boyfriend killed himself 20 days later. In March 2019, fourth series contestant Mike Thalassitis killed himself. Love Island has more suicides associated with it than Jeremy Kyle, and yet it’s been allowed to keep airing. Why? No doubt because it gets much higher viewing figures, and therefore brings in much more money, than The Jeremy Kyle Show. It’s double standards for one show to be completely erased while another show that’s aired far fewer episodes and has a higher suicide count, still gets to air as if nothing ever happened.
Guests’ Own Choice
The Jeremy Kyle Show has long attracted criticism because of its apparent negative depiction and treatment of people, not to mention its violence, confrontational nature and the way in which the host would often verbally address his guests. Despite all this, the fact remains that those who sign up to appear on the show know what they’re getting involved in. They’re discussing personal matters on a TV show viewed by a million people and it’s their own choice to do so. No one’s forcing them to go on national TV and discuss private affairs or attempt to resolve long-standing family disputes. Some guests benefit from being on the show, others don’t and that’s the nature of it. Of course, some guests might well experience negativity after the show, but however they react, whether they have further fallouts, do drugs, get into debt or even kill themselves, ultimately it was their choice to appear on TV.
The decision to completely wipe the show from online viewing platforms as well as cancelling all future broadcasts was a complete overreaction. Sure, there had long been calls for the show to be cancelled owing to its controversial nature, but the show had a steady audience of around a million people and was still very much a success. If people didn’t like it, they should have diverted their attention elsewhere. Of course, someone committing themselves is a terrible thing, but in this case, the former guest didn’t kill himself exclusively because he’d just appeared on the show; he had cheated on his wife and had been found out. In other words, the show wasn’t the one and only cause of the suicide, so the show wasn’t as guilty as some have made it out to be. It shouldn’t have been cancelled; future episodes should have aired as planned and were they to broadcast, more could have been done behind the scenes to make sure guests are well taken care of. But having said that, again it’s people’s own choice to appear on the show. Going on the show may have exacerbated problems, but it didn’t create them.