Jeremy Kyle Show Suicide: It was bound to happen

J

I think we all knew it was going to happen. Hit daytime TV show, The Jeremy Kyle Show, has been axed. Why? Well, someone has committed suicide after appearing on the show for a lie detector. It really wasn’t a case of if, but when. So, let’s break it down.

I am not going to stand on my high horse and look down on people. I did watch the Jeremy Kyle show and have watched it for a long time. Firstly with my Grandma at her house, and then at home in the morning, before I went to college. In retrospect, it can be argued that to allow this show to have aired in the first place is shocking, or even scandalous.

Context

For the uninitiated, or the foreign readers, The Jeremy Kyle Show is, or was, Jerry Springer with more decorum. On a usual instalment, an average of three sets of guests would air their grievances to an audience on issues such as: adultery, child-parent DNA testing, access to children, drug and alcohol interventions, and much more. There would also be the occasional ‘heartwarmer’, where families were reunited, children with illnesses were given toys and paraded on stage to make people cry, and odd people from the tabloids for the British public to laugh and jeer at.

Where the ‘decorum’ comes in is that the swearing was bleeped, it was aired on early morning television after the breakfast news, and the show offered aftercare to guests, ranging from medical advice to some perfunctory psychological help, after realising your wife of 15 years had a kid with your friend and has been a serial polygamist. Fun stuff.

What happened?

A man who appeared on the show last week, sadly, took his own life, after failing a lie detector test for adultery. This episode was not aired, and never will be, though audiences that were there said he was crying all the way through his segment, and that Jeremy laid into him quite harshly. That may sound like an exception to how I explained it above. Trust me, it probably isn’t. The suicide occurred this Monday, and ITV immediately pulled the show and announced on Wednesday it would be cancelled. As of the 15th of May, all social media accounts, and episodes have been removed from online.

Since this has occurred, former guests and producers have come out to complain about the show’s treatment of said guests. And it is pretty damning stuff if it is true. Not that I am outright denying it, but its a case of due process for me. the regulators have only just started investigating it. We’ll have to see what OFCOM says.

My Opinion on Jeremy Kyle

In short, the right thing had to be done. The show continuing to air after a tragedy like that would be catastrophic for both ITV, Kyle, and his crew. But I think it has begun to open people’s eyes on the whole thing. For 14 years, we’ve all been watching a middle-class man criticise, attack, and abuse the working class for seemingly clear moral weaknesses, but disregarding the root causes for such things. The vague notion of a ‘permissive society’, a broken Britain, allowing people that appear on the show to do these things, and generally making people from around the country look like monsters.

Are we not monsters for allowing this? Am I thinking too deep about a tabloid TV show? Should we extend our ire to other shows, like Love Island, where two of its contestants are suicide victims? Should our country not be dealing with mental health properly? My friend Nathaniel Shaw recently appeared on an interview for Men’s Health about his mental health, and I have been very vocal about my need for help and assistance. We, as a people, need the damned eye opener.

What Happens Now?

ITV has cancelled the show, and will not air any repeats of it on its schedule. As I’ve previously referred to, the show has lost all its social media presence and is no longer on catch up services. Jeremy Kyle is still contracted to ITV, and the Salford studios, I assume, will be made vacant. I also imagine, there will be a few weeks of big debates on the future of TV as well, and more drama to occur in the tabloids.

As for what airs in the slot between Good Morning Britain and This Morning? Eh. Probably repeats for a while. They could always push Good Morning Britain to air from 7:00 to 10:25. Whatever happens, nothing special is going to replace the daytime morning show slot that’s worth it.

To go on a tangent, I want the TV to go back to how it was before I was born. Bring back closedowns, and don’t air shit in the daytime. Save money, and air good stuff in the afternoon to teatime slot. Not that they would ever put effort into ITV. Its cheap as chips light entertainment these days. As for the long term…I dunno, man. All I know is that Jeremy Kyle is done. And frankly, we should have seen it coming.

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Ben

Since 2012, Benjamin Attwood has written for the If you Ask Ben blog.

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