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Can Love Island survive inquiry into reality TV?

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Sophie Gradon
Sophie Gradon

Former Islander Sophie Gradon was found dead in June 2018

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Sophie Gradon

Viewers accuse ITV of hypocrisy for singling out The Jeremy Kyle Show to be axed

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Thursday, May 16, 2019 - 10:07am

A formal parliamentary inquiry into British reality TV has been announced following the deaths of former participants on The Jeremy Kyle Show and Love Island.

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Why ITV axed The Jeremy Kyle Show Mike Thalassitis death: why Love Island is under fire

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee will consider whether enough support is offered during and after filming to people who appear on such programmes, and whether further regulatory oversight in this area is needed, Metro reports.

Which guests have died?

Steve Dymond, 63, was found dead in a suspected suicide last week, ten days after he was filmed failing a lie-detector test on ITV2’s The Jeremy Kyle Show. He subsequently split from his fiancee, who had accused him of being unfaithful. Following pressure from Downing Street, MPs and psychologists, ITV decided to axe the programme this week.

Dymond’s death comes after two contestants from the channel’s most-watched show, Love Island, were found hanged in separate suspected suicides. Sophie Gradon, 32, died in June last year, while Mike Thalassitis, 26, was found dead in March.

What will the inquiry be investigating?

MPs will look at the levels of psychological support provided by production companies and broadcasters; whether the design formats of shows “put unfair psychological pressure on participants and encourage more extreme behaviour”; and whether reality TV matches evolving attitudes to mental health.

Damian Collins, chairman of the committee, said: “This kind of TV featuring members of the public attracts viewing figures in the millions but in return for ratings, the broadcasters must demonstrate their duty of care to the people whose personal lives are being exposed.

“With an increasing demand for this type of programming, we’ll be examining broadcasting regulation in this area – is it fit for purpose?”

The committee is currently seeking written evidence and is expected to grill ITV bosses in public hearings later in the summer.

Will Love Island follow Jeremy Kyle’s fate?

The inquiry could have “major implications” for ITV, says The Guardian. “Tighter regulation that could increase costs could hit the bottom line at the broadcaster, whose share price has fallen in recent months,” the newspaper continues.

However, ITV has confirmed that Love Island will return in June, despite being accused of “hypocrisy” by social media users, for cancelling one show and not the other, reports the Daily Mail.

The broadcaster has insisted that its duty of care is a “continuous and ongoing process” for Love Island contestants and that all future participants will be offered therapy and bespoke training on social media and financial management.

Jeremy Kyle Love Island ITV

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