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Committee Reality TV inquiry: Jeremy Kyle Show targeted contestants who wanted to take lie detector tests

31 July 2019

The DCMS Committee has published additional evidence for its inquiry into Reality TV. All of the following written evidence is available on the Committee's website.


1. ITV evidence

In a letter published today (link below), ITV Chief Executive Dame Carolyn McCall discloses the use of Facebook advertising to find contestants for The Jeremy Kyle Show, acknowledging that “some did specify people looking to take lie detector or DNA tests.”

The Committee is publishing its response (link below), which includes a request for copies of Facebook adverts used by ITV to target specific individuals looking to take lie detectors tests.

2. Channel 4 evidence

In a letter published today (link below), Channel 4 outline their package of care given to contestants on reality TV shows like Benefits Street, The Circle, Married at First Sight, Naked Attraction and the Undateables, as a follow up to evidence they gave to the Committee on July 9th 2019.

They also respond to a request for information on changes to number of hours of reality tv programming over time and the geography of the Commercial Growth Fund investments.  

3. Written evidence

The Committee has also published written evidence from mental health organisations, Universities and other groups highlighting the current issues around reality TV.

One submission comes from Dwayne Davison, who has been described as Jeremy Kyle Shows “most hated guest.”  He writes about his experiences being a contestant on the show. Mr Davison will give evidence in front of the Committee on September 4th amongst other contestants.

Correspondence published today:

Written evidence published today:

  • Mr Dwayne Davison
  • Marion Oswald
  • Dr John Tillson
  • Wellbeing Mental Health
  • Professor Angela Smith and Dr Michael Higgins
  • Dr Jacob Johanssen
  • RAP Project
  • Mental Health Foundation
  • Bangor University
  • Bournemouth University
  • Mental Health Foundation
  • Social Inequalities Research Centre Lancaster University
  • Dart Centre Europe
  • Pact
  • Dr Janet Harris and Dr Damian Carney
  • Film & TV Charity
  • On Set Welfare
  • Wellbeing Mental Health Ltd

Chair's comment

Damian Collins, Chair of the DCMS Committee, said:

“From the outset, our inquiry has been concerned that reality TV exploits people at a vulnerable point in their lives in order to maximise ratings.

“ITV has confirmed that in some instances The Jeremy Kyle Show used Facebook ads to find individuals who wanted to take lie detector or DNA tests. It is particularly concerning that the production team appeared to be specifically targeting people who were hoping to resolve a difficult personal situation. We've written back to them to clarify…

“Our inquiry is considering how well-prepared people like this would have been to cope with having their private lives exposed on a public stage and what mechanisms were in place to support them. That's why we are speaking to Dwayne Davison, a former contestant on the Jeremy Kyle Show, whose direct experience is very concerning.”

Notes for Editors:

The Reality TV inquiry was launched in May 2019 following events leading up to the decision to axe The Jeremy Kyle Show. It is considering the duty of care offered by broadcasters and programme makers to participants of reality TV shows. 

The inquiry has taken evidence from a range of broadcasters, including Channel 4 and the BBC, with further evidence sessions taking place in September.

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