MPs have accused ITV of failing in its responsibility to protect Jeremy Kyle Show participants, following the release of backstage footage by a whistleblower.
ITV cancelled the show in May following the death of participant Steve Dymond, just one week after he took part in an episode.
New footage given to The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee showed a highly distressed participant continuing to be filmed despite walking backstage, prompting chairman Damian Collins to say there was “no safe space” on the show once the cameras were switched on.
He said: “We’ve also seen how Jeremy Kyle would use provocative and sometimes abusive language towards participants in the show, and that this could be edited out of the broadcasted show.”
The footage has led to fresh calls for Jeremy Kyle, who will return to TV, to be prosecuted for his part on the show. The presenter refused a request to appear in front of the DCMS committee in June.
Collins added: “The overriding concern of the reality TV inquiry has been to examine the production companies’ duty of care towards people who take part, often at an extremely vulnerable point in their lives.
“We’ve shown this recording to expert advisers who are deeply concerned at ITV’s apparent failure to prioritise the welfare of participants over the demands of the show, exploiting their vulnerability for the purpose of entertainment.
“What we’ve seen demonstrates a failure on the part of ITV Studios in its responsibility towards contributors and makes a mockery of the ‘aftercare’ it has claimed to provide.”
ITV said it could not comment on the footage as it has not yet been shared with them, but insisted the “physical and mental health of everyone we work with is our highest priority”.
In a statement the broadcaster said: “ITV cancelled The Jeremy Kyle Show in May. We have since made clear that we will not bring back the Jeremy Kyle Show, or any other show resembling its format.
“The physical and mental health of everyone we work with is our highest priority and ITV is committed to working across the industry – including with other broadcasters, Pact and our regulator Ofcom – to share best practice and continue to strengthen and evolve our Duty of Care processes.
“The participation of the public in television programmes has been right at the heart of TV since it began.
“We believe that these shows are all the better for the talent, energy and diversity of the members of the public who take part in them and we are committed to continuing to ensure that their welfare is also at the heart of what we do.”