Reality TV companies must do more to protect “vulnerable” guests an MP has claimed as Parliament launched an inquiry following the cancellation of The Jeremy Kyle Show.
The Digital, Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) committee probe will examine if TV companies do enough to look after the welfare of contestants.
It comes after ITV announced it was permanently axing The Jeremy Kyle Show days after it was pulled from the air following the suspected suicide of guest Steve Dymond.
Carolyn McCall, ITV’s CEO, said: “Given the gravity of recent events we have decided to end production of The Jeremy Kyle Show.
“The Jeremy Kyle Show has had a loyal audience and has been made by a dedicated production team for 14 years, but now is the right time for the show to end.
“Everyone at ITV’s thoughts and sympathies are with the family and friends of Steve Dymond.”
DCMS committee chairman Damian Collins said ITV made the “right decision” in ending the programme but that MPs needed to examine if reality telly was being correctly regulated.
He said: “This should not be the end of the matter. There needs to be an independent review of the duty of care TV companies have to participants in reality TV shows and the DCMS select committee has decided to hold an inquiry this summer into these issues.
“Programmes like The Jeremy Kyle Show risk putting people who might be vulnerable on to a public stage at a point in their lives when they are unable to foresee the consequences, either for themselves or their families.
“This kind of TV featuring members of the public attracts viewing figures in the millions but in return for ratings, the broadcasters must demonstrate their duty of care to the people whose personal lives are being exposed.
“With an increasing demand for this type of programming, we’ll be examining broadcasting regulation in this area – is it fit for purpose?”
The Jeremy Kyle Show is not the only reality TV programme to find itself in the spotlight over how it treats its guests.
In March, former Love Island contestant Mike Thalassitis committed suicide.
He was the second person to appear in the ITV show to take their own life, with previous contestant Sophie Grandon dying in 2018
A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said: “That was a decision for ITV to make. This was a deeply concerning case.”