It is true Jeremy Kyle exploited pain but he is not to blame for the tragic death of former guest
AFTER the tragic death of a guest of The Jeremy Kyle Show days after his appearance, it’s no surprise the programme has been axed.
Nor that so many people have lined up to criticise it roundly.
Before we all get comfortable on our high horses, let’s not forget that The Jeremy Kyle Show has, shall we say, been trading on vulnerable people’s difficulties since 2005.
It was ITV’s most popular daytime show and had a million viewers.
So rather than talking about what a terrible show it was, we need to think about why so many people couldn’t get enough of it.
Without a hungry audience willing to devour — from the comfort of their own sitting rooms — footage of people tearing strips from one another, the show would not have continued to exist as long as it did.
One reason it was so popular is that it offered a window into a world of other people’s misery.
Viewers would be reminded that there is always someone worse off.
Whenever I watched it — granted, in occasional 30-second bursts — it looked like a pantomime.
Participants seemed to know exactly what was expected of them — and they delivered.
Indeed, several former producers of the show have shed light on how stage-managed the process was.
Guests were kept separate until they met on camera and “wound up like a coiled spring” before the show started.
Several former guests have also spoken about how going on the show is the worst thing that ever happened to them. But it’s hard to take some of those claims seriously.
I’m thinking of Dwayne Davison, 27, who said participating was the “worst thing”. But he went on it five times. Once is a mistake. But what about the other four?
I am in no way defending the show. It capitalised on people’s misfortune. Many guests were in dire straits because of mental health issues, unemployment or drugs.
It attracted vulnerable people who didn’t have access to the kind of help that they really needed — counselling.
That is tragic.
The resulting show — fronted by Kyle — is hardly what I’d call entertainment.
But can one show be blamed for the suicide of Steve Dymond, 63, a troubled person with a difficult life? I don’t think so.
YOU CAN TURN IT OFF
The same goes for Love Island. The sad deaths of two former contestants are tragedies. But it would be reductive to blame a show they appeared on for their deaths without looking at the wider context of their life in the lead-up.
Any former viewers of The Jeremy Kyle Show now denouncing it as irresponsible must look at the part they played in keeping it on air.
We all have a responsibility to think about what we consume. If you see someone being exploited on TV, remember you have a choice. You can turn it off.
I say this also from the point of view of someone who makes TV shows as part of my job, including The Apprentice.
I’m proud of the shows I’m involved in. But I’ve lost count of the projects I have said no to because something hasn’t felt right.
In the meantime, there is no doubt ITV made the right decision to axe this show. It’s had its day.
Selena's not one to speak
SORRY, but it’s slightly hard to take seriously – Selena Gomez branding social media as “terrible for my generation”.
Speaking out about the dangers of online platforms while publicising her new film, the singer and actress, who is 26, said it “scares” her to see how “exposed” young people can be on the internet.
The thing is, Gomez has one of the most-followed Instagram accounts in the world, with more than 150million fans.
One of the most followed people on the planet talking about the perils of social media doesn’t quite deliver the intended message, I’d say.
Although she is completely right, of course.
It pays for all of us to remember that almost all social media creates a super-charged type of “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality.
It also pays to remember that in terms of beautiful bodies, lustrous looks and how much fun everyone claims to be having, it is always less than you think.
If you invest anything at all in social media, it has an almost bottomless capacity to make you feel insecure if you get negative comments or not enough likes.
It can feel a bit like being bullied – by a bully you don’t even know.
But more importantly, guess what? I’ve got the best solution. It’s free and so simple. Just look up and engage with the world, not down at your phone.
End for good
NO ONE enters marriage expecting to get divorced – and it must be dreadful to go through a marriage breakdown.
But reading Ulrika Jonsson’s revelation that she had sex with her husband Brian Monet just once in eight years . . . well, is it any wonder they broke up?
Everyone wants to feel desirable and that must have been like living with your brother.
But there is a silver lining.
She can go out and meet someone who adores her as she deserves – and the sex life she thought was over can be reignited.
Liz always looks gorgeous
I LOVED the photos of Elizabeth Hurley at the Breast Cancer Research Foundation’s Hot Pink Party in New York on Wednesday, left.
No matter whether she’s wearing a bikini or an evening gown, Liz always looks gorgeous.
And isn’t it nice to see that there is a rise in super-hot women who are over 50?
Years ago, 50 equalled elasticated waistbands and slippers – and anyone who dared to try to look good was described as mutton dressed as lamb.
I dare anyone to say that about Liz.
Abortion law is an outrage
EVERYONE needs to wake up and tune in to what is going on in Alabama, which this week introduced the most despicably stringent abortion ban in America.
The new law will make performing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy – unless the mother’s life is at risk or they know the baby will die before or shortly after birth – a felony punishable by ten to 99 years in prison.
And there is no exception for rape or incest.
The average jail sentence for convicted rapists in the US is 9.8 years. In Alabama, the maximum penalty for someone performing an abortion when a pregnant woman has been raped will be ten times that.
The world needs to rise up against this law – scheduled to take effect in six months – which is only about controlling women, and their bodies, and forcing them to become mums when they do not want to be.
Also note that no one is trying to force men to be fathers – it is only the mothers who will be left, literally, holding the baby.
Not all bad news for women
FRIDAY marked 100 years since women were admitted to the police force (although they were paid less and weren’t allowed to make arrests).
Anyway, now we have a woman Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police in the form of Cressida Dick.
So when it comes to celebrating that we’ve come a long way, that’s pretty good, isn’t it?
We are a bunch of p***heads
LAST week, new research found we are now drinking less than ever before – mainly thanks to abstemious millennials.
But this week brings the news that adults in this country get drunk more often than in any other nation in the world.
Apparently, Britons report getting intoxicated an average of 51.1 times during the course of a year – which is almost once a week.
So as a country we are good at something – we are a nation of p***heads.
Corbyn should never become PM
REVELATIONS this week that the Palestinian terror group Hamas has officially thanked Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for his support are just the latest reminder of who the man really is.
The militant organisation, whose armed wing is responsible for the deaths of thousands of civilians, “saluted” Corbyn after he sent a message to a major anti-Israel rally in London last weekend.
Sorry, but I really struggle to understand how anyone could vote Labour at the minute.
This man should never become PM of our country.
Drop off and shop
COULD it really be true that there is a rare sleeping disorder that leads people to shop in their sleep?
Apparently Kelly Knipes, a 37-year-old mother of three, regularly wakes up in the morning to find email receipts for items she has unconsciously bought online during the night and has spent up to £3,000 this way.
Seriously? Internet shopping in your sleep?
Now there’s a novel excuse – and hands up if you’ve considered using it next time someone questions your own online shopping habit.
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