ITV chiefs have reviewed the show’s support services as reality TV shows face wide-scale criticism
To say it has been a tragic year for reality TV would be an understatement.
This week, ITV announced the cancellation of The Jeremy Kyle Show after the suspected suicide of former guest Steve Dymond.
And in March, Love Island star Mike Thalassitis took his own life after suffering from a period of depression; Thalassitis was the second star from the reality show to die from suicide after 2016 contestant Sophie Gradon was announced dead last year.
Now, in preparation for the show’s return on the 3rd June, producers have said they are “taking no chances” when it comes to the wellbeing of the show’s stars - and the people around them.
Speaking to The Sun newspaper, a source revealed the measures that are being taken to protect the mental health of the show’s contestants.
“They’ve put in measures to ensure all contestants have enough mental health checks and have a psychologist on call 24 hours a day,” the source said.
“They’re taking their duty of care very seriously,” they added, “which is why they’ve written the support for families into the contract for the first time.”
Previously the show had offered support to families “where appropriate and when requested,” ITV told The Sun.
However, in response to ITV’s decision to scratch The Jeremy Kyle Show, people are also calling for Love Island to face cancellation.
Taking to Twitter, one user shared the reasons they believe Love Island should face the same fate.
“Unpopular opinion: The next ITV show to cancel now Jeremy Kyle’s gone, should be Love Island,” Twitter user @JackDunc1 wrote.
“1. It sets unrealistic body image expectations, 2. It reinforces negative self-esteem by suggesting only the prettiest deserve love,” he listed, adding that the death of two of the previous contestants was also a concern.
“No, this is not an unpopular opinion,” one person responded, “it is a very popular opinion.”
“Sad thing is, they probably won’t even consider because it appeals so much to the young audience and generates so much money,” another user wrote. “It’s easier to cash in on the vulnerable and naive rather than create a decent production I guess.”
The news comes as MP’s launch an inquiry into ITV’s treatment of reality star contestants in response to the recent deaths.
The digital, culture, media and sport select committee, which is chaired by MP Damian Collins, will look at the reality TV industry as a whole, considering whether shows place “unfair psychological pressure on participants and encourage more extreme behaviour”.
In response to the inquiry, Collins told the BBC: “There needs to be an independent review of the duty of care TV companies have to participants in reality TV shows.
“Programmes like The Jeremy Kyle Show risk putting people who might be vulnerable on to a public stage at a point in their lives when they are unable to foresee the consequences, either for themselves or their families,” he added.