MPs launch inquiry after deaths of reality TV guests

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ITV faces particular scrutiny over treatment of Love Island and Jeremy Kyle participants

Love Island contestants Jess Shears and Dominic Lever (left) appear with Jeremy Kyle (centre) on ITV show Good Morning Britain in 2018.
Love Island contestants Jess Shears and Dominic Lever (left) appear with Jeremy Kyle (centre) on ITV show Good Morning Britain in 2018. Photograph: Ken McKay/ITV/Rex/Shutterstock

ITV???s treatment of reality show contestants will be scrutinised by parliament after the deaths of former guests on The Jeremy Kyle Show and Love Island, a decision that could have major implications for the broadcaster.

Damian Collins MP said the digital, culture, media and sport select committee, which he chairs, would launch a formal inquiry into the British reality TV programme industry. ITV executives are expected to be called to parliament to give evidence in public hearings on the aftercare and mental health support offered to participants.

The MPs will consider stricter regulations on how contestants are treated on air and whether certain programmes place ???unfair psychological pressure on participants and encourage more extreme behaviour???.

Although the inquiry will look at the entire reality TV industry, ITV will be under particular scrutiny as the committee decided to set up the inquiry in response to the death last week of the Jeremy Kyle guest Steve Dymond, which led to the permanent cancellation of the long-running daytime chat show on Wednesday.

Dymond was found dead last week after failing a lie-detector test on the long-running daytime programme, prompting the show to be taken off air on Monday.

In his first public comments since the scandal broke, Jeremy Kyle told the Sun: ???Myself and the production team I worked with for the last 14 years are all utterly devastated by the recent events. Our thoughts and sympathies are with Steve???s family at this incredibly sad time.???

Carolyn McCall, ITV???s chief executive, confirmed the show would not be returning. ???Given the gravity of recent events we have decided to end production of The Jeremy Kyle Show. The Jeremy Kyle Show has had a loyal audience and has been made by a dedicated production team for 14 years, but now is the right time for the show to end.???

She said ITV would continue to work with Kyle on future projects. The broadcaster had initially stuck by the programme. McCall told staff on Monday the company had decided to cease production simply to ???protect the show??? and its production team.

However, ITV came under pressure from