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.