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Jeremy Kyle asked to attend reality TV inquiry

Jeremy Kyle has been asked to attend the parliamentary inquiry into reality TV.

The digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS) committee inquiry was launched last month, within hours of ITV announcing that it had axed The Jeremy Kyle Show following the death of a participant.

DCMS committee chairman Damian Collins MP said: “We’re hoping that Jeremy Kyle will take this opportunity to come and answer questions about measures taken to prepare and support contestants.

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Steve Dymond - Jeremy Kyle
Image: Steve Dymond is believed to have killed himself after filming for the show

“As someone who was at the centre of this long-running show, we believe that his perspective on reality TV will be of particular value to our inquiry.”

Kyle has been given until 13 June to respond.

The committee said senior executives from ITV would be the first to give evidence.

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MPs will question ITV chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall, ITV chairman Sir Peter Bazalgette, and director of content compliance Chris Wissun on 25 June.

A range of former participants and programme makers will also be invited to give evidence over the coming months.

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The Jeremy Kyle Show was permanently cancelled after 14 years following the death of Steve Dymond, 63, whose body was found at his home in Portsmouth on 9 May, shortly after filming for the programme.

He had reportedly gone on the show to take a lie detector test to prove he had not been cheating on his on-off fiancee Jane Callaghan – but failed the test.

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An inquest into his death has been opened and adjourned until November.

However, the initial hearing heard he had been worried about the repercussions of his appearance and police said suicide was suspected.

Kyle said at the time that he was “utterly devastated”.

Mr Dymond’s death prompted a huge backlash, not just against the daytime talk show but against reality TV shows in general.

Love Island, also an ITV show, has come in for criticism following the deaths of two former contestants who both took their own lives.

Ahead of the fifth series, which started on Monday, ITV said this year it would offer “enhanced psychological support” for contestants, as well as “more detailed conversations with potential Islanders regarding the impact of participation on the show, bespoke training for all Islanders on social media and financial management and a proactive aftercare package”.

:: Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org

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