opinion

A guest from The Jeremy Kyle Show died. And it's not an isolated incident.

Warning: this post deals with themes of mental health and suicide and may be triggering for some readers. 

When Steven Dymond left the set of The Jeremy Kyle Show, he considered throwing himself out of a moving car.

The 65-year-old grandfather sobbed uncontrollably in the back of a taxi on his way home to Portsmouth. He was humiliated, believing his life had been ‘destroyed’.

For 14 years, The Jeremy Kyle Show has been Britain’s answer to The Jerry Springer Show or Maury Povich.

The daytime show is based on confrontations between guests, where Jeremy Kyle is positioned as the voice of reason, ‘resolving’ seemingly irresolvable issues.

In September 2007, a Manchester judge named Alan Berg described the show as “trash” with the “purpose [of effecting] a morbid and depressing display of dysfunctional people whose lives are in turmoil. It is human bear-baiting.”

Why was Berg offering his opinion on one of Britain’s most popular talk shows?

Because a husband had been provoked to head butt his wife’s lover in front of a Kyle’s live studio audience.

“This type of incident is exactly what the producers want,” the judge said. “They pretend there is some kind of virtue in putting out a show like this.”

And 12 days later, a man is dead.

Dymond appeared on the show to take a lie detector test, in order to prove to his fiance that he had not cheated on her. According to the test, he had.

The studio audience turned on him, and his fiance abruptly ended the relationship.

Dymond’s landlord, who has chosen to be identified only as Shelley, told The Daily Mail that when Dymond returned home he was inconsolable, and kept repeating “it’s all gone wrong”.

“He was distraught,” she said. “He was traumatised. Steve said it got quite nasty on the show.”

He told Shelley that he had thoughts of suicide.

On Thursday, Shelley noticed that Dymond’s car remained parked outside, and concerned she went to check on him.

He was dead.

The episode featuring Dymond will no longer be aired to their audience of more than one million, and the show itself has been suspended indefinitely.

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This is not the first time a talk show has resulted in death.

In 1995, The Jenny Jones Show staged a ‘confession’, where Scott Amedure expressed romantic interest in an acquaintance, Jonathan Schmitz.

Three days after taping, 24-year-old Schmitz fatally shot 32-year-old Amedure, before turning himself into police.

He told police he had killed his friend because he was so embarrassed on national television.

The Jenny Jones Show continued for another eight years before it was cancelled in 2003, recording the lowest ratings for any talk show.

Just last year, a 23-year-old man named Blake Alvey was confronted by his fiance Cassie Rutter on The Jerry Springer Show, who told him she was having an affair with his friend.

On national television, Rutter told Alvey she did not want to marry him and had sold her engagement ring, before the friend was called up on stage.

A brief fight broke out between the two before being separated.

Nine days after the episode aired on May 24, Alvey died by suicide, leaving behind an infant son.

What life is really like after reality television. Post continues. 

The family is now suing The Jerry Springer Show which has since been cancelled.

In 2000, another guest was found dead, hours after the episode had been broadcast.

A woman named Nancy Campbell-Panitz was publicly accused by her ex-husband and his new wife of stalking them on an episode called ‘Secret Mistresses Confronted’.

She was murdered by her ex-husband, who was convicted and sentenced to life in prison two years later.

Perhaps the era of the talk show – an ‘evolved’ form of public stoning – has finally come to an end.

In its place, however, has morphed an even greater beast, and one that is sure to ruin just as many lives once given the time.

Reality television.

If you think you may be experiencing depression or another mental health problem, please contact your general practitioner or in Australia, contact Lifeline 13 11 14 for support or beyondblue 1300 22 4636.

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