It has been nearly three years since Jeremy Kyle was on our screens with his self-title show. A show that had run for some 14 years. The Jeremy Kyle Show was taken off air before being permanently cancelled in May 2019 following the tragic death of guest Steve Dymond.
In a bid to prove he hadn’t been cheating to his on-off fiancée Jane Callaghan, the 63-year-old had taken a lie detector, which are not 100% accurate, but was revealed to have failed the test. After the show recording ended, distraught Steve told one of the show’s researchers “I wish I was dead” before being sent home in a taxi two hours later.
Just days later, Steve was tragically founded dead in his rented room in Portsmouth, with an autopsy later showing he had died of a morphine overdose and left ventricular hypertrophy. Filming and broadcasting of The Jeremy Kyle Show was suspended with immediate effect while a serious review was conducted – and former staff members and guests gave shocking insights into what it was really like behind-the-scenes.
Host Jeremy was said to be distraught after learning Steve had been found dead just days after filming on his show, reported the Mirror. Jeremy said: “Myself and the production team I have worked with for the last 14 years are all utterly devastated by the recent events. “Our thoughts and sympathies are with Steve’s family and friends at this incredibly sad time.”
There had previously been plans for Jeremy to return to ITV with a brand new show – but it seems they have now been shelved. ITV boss Kevin Lygo confirmed that Jeremy Kyle was working on a brand new show to air on ITV, saying: “He was devastated. He really upset and obviously distraught someone had died who had recently been on his show and understood the decision.
“For him suddenly overnight to have lost the job he has been lorded over for 15 years, was a big jolt.” Lygo confirmed ITV was “piloting” Kyle’s new project and that his investigative series The Kyle Files would return in 2020.
The ITV boss added: “We are piloting something with him and we will just have to have a look because he is a consummate broadcaster and it would be absolutely wrong to apportion blame of the show against the presenter of it.
“We don’t hold him in any bad way. We will look to find another show with him but I think it is unlikely it will go in the same slot.” However, Kyle has yet to return to our screens and it is unclear what his role now is at ITV.
ITV bosses appeared in front of a House of Commons committee in June 2020 as part of an inquiry into reality TV organised by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Chairman Damian Collins said that Jeremy himself, who fronted the show for its duration, declined to attend.
The committee asked ITV chiefs about how participants were selected and how accurate lie detector tests were, as well as demanding details on documents that guests on reality TV shows are asked to sign.
An inquest into Mr Dymond’s death is still ongoing which prevents Kyle from discussing in detail the circumstances around the death. Coroner Jason Pegg has confirmed that the presenter will be called to give evidence as a witness at the inquest.
In September last year, Jeremy finally broke his silence and claimed he felt “scapegoated” and unfairly blamed for the tragedy.
Jeremy said he knew his critics would say he ‘got a taste of his own medicine’ by seeing his show cancelled, but that it pushed him over the edge after a string of other things went wrong. The presenter told The Sun: “I don’t want to sound ‘woe is me’, and as I’ve said the whole thing was a terrible tragedy — devastating for Steve Dymond’s friends and family, of course, and for the many people who worked on the show.
“But it did hit me hard. And it’s been awful to feel so scapegoated, and without being able to have my say about the accusations that often seemed to be levelled only at me. I’ve felt hunted and made out to be responsible for everything that ever took place around that show. But I was just the face of it.”
The presenter said he had been battling anxiety and depression and at one stage couldn’t bring himself to leave the house of even open the curtains.
After encouragement from his “grounded and supportive” fiancée Vicky Burton, he went to the doctor because of how low he was feeling.
“She’s not from that TV world and her advice has really helped me find perspective. I would give Vic massive, massive credit for getting me back on my feet,” he told The Sun. Jeremy went on to explain how much of an impact it had been on the crew that had worked on the series.
“A hundred people lost their jobs that day, and I felt truly awful for them too and worried for their futures. But I felt completely alone,” he continued. When I was told they were cancelling it completely, my first reaction was a sort of incredulous shock, and then really just devastation. And then suddenly I felt like I was on the periphery of it.”
Jeremy revealed that some of his celebrity pals had abandoned him after his show was axed – with some he had been close to for years simply “disappearing”. But he did single out some “brilliant” showbiz friends who remained by his side, including Dec Donnelly, Eamonn Holmes, Ruth Langsford and Rob Rinder.
Jeremy also praised Piers Morgan for reaching out straight away and Kate Garraway for taking the time to get in touch. Jeremy has also been there to support Kate in her darkest hour during husband Derek Draper’s recovery from Covid.
In August 2020, Kate revealed that Jeremy had helped take her kids to stay with Derek’s parents, who had been shielding for months. He offered the use of his driver after Kate expressed her worry about passing anything on to Derek’s vulnerable parents.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Kate explained: “They travelled up not with me, because they’ve not even had contact with Derek’s sisters, so I didn’t want to be an extra person coming into their lives. So thanks to Jeremy Kyle they travelled up because he said my driver has been isolating and keeping the car very clean so I’ll take the children up.”
While Jeremy had yet to make an appearance on TV again, he did make a return to broadcasting in September last year with his own weekday talkRadio show. Airing from 4pm to 7pm Monday to Thursday, Jeremy’s show was pitched as being ‘straight talking, no nonsense radio’.
Speaking with talkRADIO’s Mike Graham about his new show, the presenter revealed his late father had encouraged him yo return to work before his death. Jeremy explained: “I lost my dad six weeks ago and he was my hero. One of the reasons that I’ve come back now is that he said to me, ‘go back to work’.
“Life is full of problems. There’s always a solution, it’s just the bigger the problem, the longer that it takes to find an answer. But if you get your head down, you’ll get there. That’s why I’m back. It just seems like the right time, and I’ve listened to talkRADIO and I just like the fact that there’s a huge amount of honesty and directness and it’s about people.
“talkRADIO is just the most perfect project and I’m so excited to join and be able to talk about stuff that matters to me and that’s mattered to me for a long, long time.”
The Jeremy Kyle Show is now the focus of a new Channel 4 documentary which aired on Sunday and Monday night. Viewers will see Steve’s final messages before he took his own life and interviews with his loved ones, former show participants and employees.
Jeremy did not contribute to the documentary, with Channel 4 saying: “Jeremy Kyle was approached for a response to the series. He did not provide a statement for broadcast. We will reflect his position in the film.”
ITV said: “The show had extensive, detailed duty of care processes in place for contributors built up over 14 years. “Should they require ongoing help appropriate solutions were found. Due to the gravity of events in May 2019, ITV decided to end production of the show. It would not be appropriate to comment further on that in advance of the inquest this month.
“ITV does not accept the central allegation of this programme of a ‘bad culture’ within the production team. ITV would never condone any of its production staff misleading or lying to guests. All guests were aware of the nature of the show and the presenter’s style before taking part. All guests gave their informed consent, in writing, to take part.
“Since 2018 ITV has taken significant steps in relation to its duty of care of participants.”
Jeremy Kyle Show: Death On Daytime can be viewed on All4
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