On Sunday evening, viewers sat down to watch the first instalment of the Channel 4 documentary series, Death on Daytime – an exposé on former daytime TV programme, The Jeremy Kyle Show – and it seems many were shocked by what they saw.
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The programme is an exploration and investigation into the daytime show, which was axed in 2019 following the death of one its previous guests named Steve Dymond.
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Steve appeared on the show in May 2019 to prove to his partner, Jane, he was not a cheater, but his experience on the chat show led to him tragically taking his own life shortly after taping the episode.
Many had strong reactions to the film on social media. One person wrote: "I never realised how bad the Jeremy Kyle show actually was! I feel bad for watching it now after watching this documentary and hearing from guests and staff who worked on the show. Glad it was axed! #jeremykyle."
Another echoed this, tweeting: "If you didn't watch the 'Death on Daytime' documentary on Jeremy Kyle then you MUST. Absolutely shocking. I cannot believe this was allowed to happen for FOURTEEN years."
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Steve Dymond's partner, Jane, took part in the documentary
Others were also shocked by what they saw, but were keen for others to see the wider societal issues behind the show's popularity: "As exploitative as the production team were, they were only making what the viewing public wanted," one said, adding: "They wouldn't have made it unless people were lapping it up and laughing at vulnerable people through gritted teeth."
Another had a similar view, tweeting: "We're all culpable. Everyone who watched his show as it turned into exploitative aggression. I watched it only occasionally but maybe had I been at home in the mornings I'd have watched it more. Let's not absolve ourselves by blaming only him."
Meanwhile, one fan of Jeremy's was keen to defend him. "I really feel that channel 4 have done Jeremy Kyle good and proper with this documentary. I met him 3 times and went in the audience twice and he was nothing but wonderful, backstage and in between takes. Think this is more about the researchers' actions rather than JK himself."
Death on Daytime heard from previous guests who appeared on The Jeremy Kyle Show
ITV issued a lengthy statement which was shared in full at the end of the programme, explaining that The Jeremy Kyle Show's sole aim was to support the guests that made an appearance on the programme.
"The central purpose of the show was conflict resolution, and the show achieved many positive outcomes where people were able to resolve personal problems," the statement read.
The broadcaster insisted there were stringent "duty of care" measures in place for participants, including professionals and welfare staff experience in mental healthcare."
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"ITV does not accept the central allegation of this programme of a 'bad culture' within the production team.
"ITV would never condone any of its production staff misleading or lying to guests. All guests on the Jeremy Kyle Show were aware of the nature of the show and the presenter's style before taking part in recording."
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