Bosses behind The Jeremy Kyle Show have been accused of being “irresponsible” over the use of lie detector tests on the programme.
MPs have been grilling those linked to the confrontational daytime programme in light of its cancellation by ITV after 14 years on air back in May, following the death of participant Steve Dymond.
The 63-year-old died around a week after reportedly failing a love-cheat lie-detector test on air, and its producers have been told they should have known more about their accuracy.
Giving evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee, executive producer Tom McLennan said the show made it “very clear” to viewers and participants that the tests are “not 100% accurate”, but added that Kyle, who has refused to appear before the panel, “strongly believed” in it.
He said viewers “respected” and “loved” the host for “always striving for resolution” in the disputes between participants, adding that he had “very strong views” and “strongly believed in the tests”.
Committee chairman Damian Collins said it was “astonishing” that Mr McLennan could not provide the exact level of accuracy of lie-detector tests, and other MPs accused the show of “tearing apart” its guests.
They said Kyle was there “to entertain” rather than “to help”, as it emerged that those who appeared on the show were briefed about his presenting style prior to filming.
Documents released by the committee revealed how people were prepped before the cameras started rolling, including being asked if they understood Kyle could be “very critical” of those he believes are “in the wrong”.
They were also asked if they understood lie detector tests were not 100% accurate, and if they were “certain they will be able to cope” if the results delivered a “worst-case scenario”.
Another briefing for guests involved being told an assessment on their “suitability” for taking part in the programme would be based on “data relating to your sex life”.
They were also told they would be kept separate before recording from “anyone you are to confront”, for “safety and peace of mind” as much as “anything else”.
It assured that security would be available to dissolve arguments on air, but wanted to do what it could to “prevent them in the first place” and warned that “physical aggression” was forbidden.
Guests were also briefed on the service from its aftercare team led by counselling psychologist Graham Stanier, which included a promise of immediate help and a recommendation to a producer on next steps.