Every news medium across Britain including newspapers, TV and radio has been debating the suspension and, as of a few hours ago, the cancellation of the production of the Jeremy Kyle Show by ITV. It began a couple of days ago when one of the participants in the show, Steve Dymond aged 63, was found dead at his home a week after appearing on the show. In a bid to convince his fiancé that he hadn’t been cheating Mr Dymond took a lie detector test but failed.
Since the story hit the headlines politicians, the general public, mental health specialists, psychiatrists, psychologists, journalists, radio and TV presenters have all voiced opinions regarding the issue. As forensic psychologists and providers of polygraph services nationwide, we have decided to add ours.
Lie detector tests are not for entertainment
Attempting to prove your innocence is a serious issue particularly when you have been accused of something particularly serious. Infidelity, theft and false accusations of sex abuse or rape are not laughing matters.
If a person fails a lie detector test, humiliating them in front of friends, family, a studio audience and millions of viewers is not the best way to resolve anything. As many commentators have said in the past couple of days, Jeremy Kyle is also a bully. It’s easy to be a bully when you are surrounded by security staff to protect you.
Those of you who are old enough may remember the original Jerry Springer shows, one of the first to use polygraph examinations on television. The difference between Springer and Kyle is that Springer had empathy for those who failed the test. Kyle invariably has none.
We don’t know whether participants are psychologically evaluated before taking part in the Jeremy Kyle Show. Other shows such as The Apprentice do put candidates through a psychological evaluation to ensure they are capable of dealing with pressure. Lord Sugar discussed the importance of this with Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain yesterday. You can see that interview by clicking here.
What we do know is that the Jeremy Kyle Show has an excellent aftercare team who help all participants to cope if they require such help. It seems clear that Mr Dymond didn’t avail himself of that service or it, in some way, failed him.
Those in favour of cancelling the show
There have been many advocates for cancelling the show and they were rewarded today when ITV did so. Their arguments ranged from comparing the entertainment to ‘bear baiting’ and exploitation of the mentally impaired among others. Shock and horror has been expressed by many regarding audience reactions that are akin to those who watched gladiators set upon by lions. “It is uncivilised in the 21st century” has been a common refrain.
Those who want the show to continue
Many callers in to @LBC pointed out that the show has helped innumerable drug addicts and alcoholics obtain treatment that they could never otherwise afford. The show has also contributed much to handicapped children and other charitable causes.
Some consider that Kyle’s treatment of those who fail lie detector tests is the best way to “shake them into reality and take responsibility for their actions and lives”.
We began a poll on Twitter and currently, although early days 48% of participants believe the show should continue. 10% are undecided and 42% feel the right decision has been made in cancelling it.
As the hours unravel journalists have uncovered a wealth of information about many aspects of the show. Steve Dymond was diagnosed with depression in February of this year, which coincides with a warrant being issued for his arrest when he failed to turn up at a court hearing. We don’t propose to go into details about this as we are sure that his fiancé and family have more than enough pain to deal with. We send out condolences and invite them to contact us if they feel we can help in any way.
Aspersions have also been cast about the polygraph services that iTV uses for the Jeremy Kyle show. Its founder has allegedly lied to police and has a criminal record. Again we don’t intend to elaborate but you can learn more about this by clicking here
Jeremy Kyle is not a qualified psychiatrist, psychologist or counsellor. ITV seems to have given him a fairly free hand in his treatment of participants which is a mistake. A pre-requisite to being a polygraph examiner is to be impartial and non-judgemental throughout the process. This includes the analysis of results no matter what the outcome is. A qualified and experienced examiner would never pillory a subject over the results of their test. Perhaps Jeremy Kyle should have learned how to deliver polygraph results in a less angry and provocative manner.
At Lie Detector Test UK our clients are treated with the utmost respect and the goal of our polygraph examiners is to prove their innocence. We evaluate all subjects during a pre-test interview and should we find mental health issues, or that they have taken drugs or alcohol before the test, the polygraph examination will not proceed.
On balance we are sorry that people will no longer get help from the show but after 14 years, it is perhaps time for ITV to consider a different way to offer that help.
What is your opinion about the Jeremy Kyle Show?
We invite our readers to comment on this article and submit their opinions on this very sad affair.