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Committee announces inquiry into reality TV

15 May 2019

The inquiry will consider production companies' duty of care to participants, and ask whether enough support is offered both during and after filming, and whether there is a need for further regulatory oversight in this area.

The DCMS Committee's decision to launch the inquiry into reality TV  comes after the death of a guest following filming for The Jeremy Kyle Show and the deaths of two former contestants in the reality dating show Love Island. 

Chair's comment

DCMS Committee Chair Damian Collins MP said:

“ITV has made the right decision to permanently cancel the Jeremy Kyle Show. However, that 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?”

Terms of Reference

The Committee is seeking written evidence that addresses the following questions:

  • What psychological support do production companies and broadcasters provide to participants in reality TV shows before, during and after the production process?
  • What are examples of best practice, and where is there room for improvement, in the support that is offered to reality TV participants?
  • Who should be responsible for monitoring whether duty of care policies are being applied effectively in the production of reality TV shows?
  • Do the design formats for reality shows put unfair psychological pressure on participants and encourage more extreme behaviour? If so, how?
  • What is for the future for reality TV of this kind? How does it accord with our understanding of, and evolving attitudes to, mental health?

Submitting evidence

The Committee invites evidence from the public, organisations and others with relevant expertise, on the terms of reference. The deadline for submitting evidence is Thursday 13 June at 5pm.

Written evidence to the inquiry can be submitted via the evidence portal.

Each submission should:

  • be no more than 3,000 words in length
  • be in Word format with as little use of colour or logos as possible
  • have numbered paragraphs

Further information regarding submitting evidence to Committees: Guide to submitting evidence.

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