ITV faces UK parliamentary committee over duty of care

Executives from UK broadcaster ITV have given evidence to the British parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee following the death of participants on The Jeremy Kyle Show and Love Island.

The committee is investigating the support offered to participants in reality TV shows, both during and after filming.

The death of Steven Dymond, a 63-year-old who had taken a lie-detector test for an episode of talk show The Jeremy Kyle Show, has raised questions about duty of care.

Two participants of Love Island also died after production and broadcast.

ITV cancelled The Jeremy Kyle Show, which has been likened to The Jerry Springer Show.

ITV Chief Executive Carolyn McCall (pictured) said, “We will not commission a show in the future in this way, in this format, using lie detector tests.”

“This show, I would say, at its core was trying very much to resolve people’s issue,” she said. “It did have some positive intentions. It didn’t always work out like that. That is clear.” She added: “It was a radio show first, became a TV show. From its inception, it was about trying to resolve issues with people with normal lives.”

“Everybody at ITV was extremely sorry to have heard that someone who had appeared on the show had died in quite close proximity to appearing on the show,” said McCall.

She concluded, “We have done an internal review. … We will learn from this and we will improve everything we do based on learning.”

Tom McLennan, executive producer of The Jeremy Kyle Show, told the committee: “We have always made it clear to audiences and participants that the lie detector is not 100% accurate.”

McCall was also asked about how well participants are prepared to appear on Love Island. “The echo chamber of social media … can make it very difficult for a participant,” but everyone is told about this on all ITV shows. “On Love Island, we actually give them social media training.” That is designed to help all on the show, no matter what the show means for their future. After all, “some of them will be famous, some of them will be ignored.”

She was also quizzed about how Love Island may affect viewers’ body image, saying ITV airs “very different shows, and they show the diversity of Britain completely, including body image.” Love Island contestants tend to be young and healthy though, because it is a dating show, she said. “If you look at the series now, they are not all the same shape, neither the men, nor the women. There are variations of shapes.”

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Source: Reuters, Hollywood Reporter

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