Jeremy Kyle ‘strongly believed’ in using lie-detector tests to out his guests as liars but they may have been wrong a third of the time, MPs were told today.
The ITV host has refused appear before a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee inquiry on reality TV that started today after Steve Dymond’s death led to the programme being axed in May.
Mr Dymond, 63, was found dead around a week after failing a lie detector test – but the show’s executives today admitted some people failed even when telling the truth.
MPs today branded the Jeremy Kyle Show ‘fake’ and ‘irresponsible’ and said they were ‘astonished’ producers couldn’t tell them how accurate the tests used to out guests as liars really are.
Committee chairman Damian Collins also quoted academic research showing the accuracy was only 66 per cent.
In Mr Kyle’s absence his executive producer Tom McLennan was brought in to answer questions about the show in Parliament today as part of a wider inquiry into reality TV.
He admitted that these tests, used on the show since 2005, were ‘not 100% accurate’, adding: ‘We’ve always made it very, very clear to viewers and participants of the show’.
But he added: ‘Jeremy did have a strong opinion about the lie detector. He strongly believed in the tests’.
Jeremy Kyle (pictured on his ITV Studios set) has refused to appear in front MPs for questioning as part of a select committee investigation on reality TV that saw his show branded ‘fake’ today
In Mr Kyle’s absence his executive producer Tom McLennan (pictured) was brought in to answer questions about the show in Parliament today – but admitted the lie detector tests were never 100% accurate
ITV executives have been called in by Parliament’s culture committee who asked them about Jeremy Kyle and Love Island and how people who took part were cared for
Steven Dymond (left), 63, was said to have been left in tears and feeling suicidal after filming for Jeremy Kyle with his on-and-off girlfriend Jane Callaghan (right, with Mr Dymond) and failing a lie detector test
He said: ‘If it wasn’t for the lie-detector test, we might not be sitting here today.’
He added: ‘The disclaimer doesn’t mean very much, does it? It’s being presented as black and white… That’s causing considerable distress.’
Jeremy Kyle’s welfare chief admits he didn’t like host calling guests ‘liars’
The Jeremy Kyle Show’s director of aftercare Graham Stanier (pictured today) said he was not responsible for Kyle’s style.
‘That is the presenter’s style. I’m responsible for me and my behaviour. I can’t be responsible for the presenter’s behaviour,’ he told MPs.
‘In the moment he (Kyle) becomes passionate, opinionated, he will deliver in that way.
‘If people are uncomfortable … I think that’s a production issue.’
Shown a clip of Kyle calling a guest a ‘liar,’ he said: ‘I’m never comfortable with black and white statements.’
He said it was ‘astonishing’ that ‘you don’t know itself what the range is, in terms of the likeliness of getting a true accurate reading…. I’m disappointed that you can’t do that.’
Asked if there were any plans to bring the show back, Julian Bellamy, ITV Studios managing director, said there were ‘absolutely no plans to bring back a show that looks or feels like a Jeremy Kyle show’.
MPs were told: ‘Jeremy Kyle has been involved in all sorts of programmes. Yes, we would look to work with him in the future … We won’t be making another conflict resolution show.’
Jeremy Kyle has turned down a request to appear before MPs investigating reality TV.
ITV axed The Jeremy Kyle Show – a fixture in its schedule for 14 years – in May, following the death of participant Steve Dymond.
It initially suspended filming but ended the series after coming under pressure from politicians and the public.
The boss of ITV later defended sending an email to staff about ‘protecting’ The Jeremy Kyle Show.
Dame Carolyn McCall told ITV staff, in an email, that the decision to halt filming of the controversial programme was ‘the best way we think we can protect the show and the production team’ from the reaction to Steve Dymond’s death.
The long-running daytime programme was axed shortly afterwards.
ITV chief executive Dame Carolyn told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee her message was an ‘internal email’.
‘Everybody at ITV was extremely sorry to have heard that someone who had appeared on the show had died in quite close proximity to appearing on the show. It created shockwaves,’ she said.
‘I was trying to say, we are going to go through this calmly and in a measured way.’
She said: ‘It was an internal email sent to specific individuals working at the sharp end’.
She said: ‘A number of factors made it untenable for the show to continue. We will learn from this and we will improve everything we do as a result of learning.’
Jeremy Kyle, pictured a week ago outside his local Sainsbury’s in Surrey, has gone to ground since his show was axed but may be returning to ITV for ‘The Kyle Files’ in 2020
Guests on The Jeremy Kyle Show were warned about the host’s ‘presenting style’ before they recorded the programme, the committee has been told.
MPs have released documents relating to the now defunct TV show ahead of a grilling of ITV bosses.
They show that participants were told that the long-running programme wanted to ‘prevent’ arguments.
Do people HAVE to attend select committee hearings when asked?
The first step for a select committee asking somebody in for questioning comes in the form of an informal request.
If, like Jeremy Kyle, the person in question refuses to attend, MPs can use their powers to send a formal request.
Rupert and James Murdoch received such a summon over the phone hacking scandal and agreed to appear despite turning the informal request down.
But if anybody refuses at this stage, politicians could hold them in contempt. This means that they are holding the person responsible for impeding the House of Parliament in the performance of its functions.
However it is unclear whether any sanctions can be used against someone for continual refusal.
In the past, fines and imprisonment have been used on those found guilty of contempt.
But the last time anybody was jailed over a refusal was 1880 and 1666 is the last year in which somebody was fined.
Therefore, it seems unlikely that MPs would attempt to imprison or even fine Kyle, meaning there is little guarantee of a measure that forces people to comply with committees in the future.
Source: Institute for Government
Guests were also asked whether they are ‘certain they will be able to cope’ with a ‘worst-case scenario’, if they fail lie detector tests.
And they are also asked before going on air: ‘Are you aware of Jeremy’s presenting style?
‘Do you understand that he may not agree with your point of view on certain things?
‘Do you understand that he can be very critical of people if he thinks they are in the wrong?’
A document given to participants on the now-axed programme explained that they would be kept apart from the people that they would eventually confront.
‘During the whole of the run-up to filming you will be kept apart from anyone you are to confront on the show,’ it said.
‘This is as much for your safety and peace of mind as anything else.
‘While security will be on hand to help calm any arguments that may flare up we also feel it best to do what we can to prevent them in the first place.
‘If you knew of two people who argued constantly wouldn’t you want to keep them separated before they can begin to get the help Jeremy offers?’
The notes also say that the show does not pay for alcoholic drinks for participants on the show, who stay in a hotel.
And it tells them not to wear pyjamas and other nightwear in dining areas.
On the show itself, it says ‘physical aggression’ is never allowed.
And on aftercare, it states: ‘When the show has finished recording you will be invited to meet Graham, our resident counselling psychologist or one of his team.
‘He/they will be on hand to give you initial help through any difficulties you may be facing.
‘Thereafter Graham will make a recommendation to your show’s producer about the best way forward for you once you have returned home.
‘If necessary The Jeremy Kyle Show will then arrange subsequent counselling sessions for you in your own area. Of course it is completely up to you whether you want to take up this help.’
On tests, participants are told to ‘confirm’ their ‘understanding’ that they are not 100% accurate.
And they are told: ‘We may use data relating to your sex life to assess your suitability to participate in the programme.’
The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee then launched an inquiry into reality TV. Senior executives from ITV will be the first to give evidence to the probe.
Jeremy Kyle is set to return with two new programmes just weeks after his show was axed after a guest died in a suspected suicide, it emerged this week.
The presenter will front a new show called The Kyle Files, which will utilise secret filming to deal with social issues, as reported by The Daily Mirror.
Ideas are currently being bandied around by ITV executives for the other programme after the 56-year-old’s previous show, The Jeremy Kyle Show, was cancelled.
A source said: ‘The Kyle Files will be back as usual in early 2020 and another show is being sought for him.’