Tuesday 21 May 2019 5:02 pm

Ofcom expresses concern over reality TV after Jeremy Kyle Show death

Reporter covering media, telecoms and marketing. Get in touch at james.warrington@cityam.com

Reporter covering media, telecoms and marketing. Get in touch at james.warrington@cityam.com

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Ofcom has expressed concern about the treatment of reality TV stars, a week after ITV axed the Jeremy Kyle Show following the death of a contestant.

Appearing in front of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Ofcom chief executive Sharon White said the regulator is “particularly concerned” about the duty of care broadcasters have towards people who appear on their shows.

Read more: MPs launch probe into reality TV following Jeremy Kyle Show death

The intervention came after ITV pulled its hit daytime programme the Jeremy Kyle Show following the apparent suicide of former participant Steve Dymond.

But White said “alarm bells” had also been rung over the suicides of two former contestants on the broadcaster’s reality dating show Love Island.

White said clearer guidance was needed to ensure producers offered support to participants after they have appeared on TV shows.

“What happens after transmission at the moment, there is a window between filming and transmission where there is advice on the media and social media and going often from being a private person to suddenly to being casting into a media world,” she said.

Ofcom has asked ITV to hand over information about the Jeremy Kyle Show as part of its inquiry into the death. White today said the broadcaster has asked for more time to complete its own internal investigation.

The media regulator will also be looking into the use of lie detector tests – a regular feature on the ITV show – over concerns about their validity.

Read more: ITV revenues slip as advertising strain continues

“The Jeremy Kyle Show has significant and detailed duty of care processes in place for contributors pre, during and post show which have been built up over 14 years, and there have been numerous positive outcomes from this, including people who have resolved complex and long-standing personal problems,” ITV said in a statement following the death.