JEREMY KYLE has surfaced for the first time since his ITV show was pulled in response to the death of a guest in a suspected suicide.
The presenter, 53, made no comment as he arrived at his luxurious home near Windsor, Berkshire, last night.
The show is off air indefinitely after the death of Steve Dymond — said to have been left distraught when he failed a lie detector test and the studio audience turned on him.
But it emerged yesterday that the decision to suspend the programme, which regularly attracts more than 1million viewers, was driven by a desire to protect it.
ITV chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall wrote in an email to staff: ‘This decision is not a reflection on the show, but the best way we think we can protect the show and the production team from the reaction we expect to this death.’
Law lecturer Daniela Nadj accused Dame Carolyn of grabbing the ‘moral low ground’. She tweeted: ‘The buck stops with her for continuing to commission shows where people’s vulnerabilities get brutally exploited for TV ratings. Very serious questions need to be asked of the chief executive.’
Mr Dymond, 62, took part in filming of an episode of the confrontational talk show on May 2, in an attempt to convince his fiancée Jane Callaghan he had not cheated on her. The digger driver, who had been diagnosed with depression, is said to have been ‘sobbing’ when he arrived back at his lodgings in Gosport, Hampshire, after failing the lie detector test.
His landlady, who gave her name only as Shelley, found him dead in bed on Thursday. She said going on the show ‘tipped him over the edge’.
Ms Callaghan called Mr Dymond the ‘most generous and loving person’. She told The Sun they had split up after going on the programme and he sent her messages saying he could not face living without her.
‘We were together for two years,’ she added. ‘I still loved him. As much as he was a pig to me I still loved him.
‘We got engaged Christmas Day 2017. He was crying, the love was real.
‘He was quietly struggling, and we didn’t know at the time. He cheated on me, I know he did. I can’t forgive but I just want him to be alive.’
The show was denounced last night as a ‘theatre of cruelty’ by Sir Simon Wessely, former president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
‘It might entertain a million people a day but, then again, so did Christians versus lions,’ he said.
‘The idea that, as the website says, “Jeremy is here to help”, is stretching the verb beyond any normal meaning. It’s almost an offence under the Trade Descriptions Act.’
Culture secretary Jeremy Wright said that he was ‘deeply concerned’ by Mr Dymond’s death. MPs on the culture and media committee will discuss the rules governing reality shows today.
ITV insisted it had ‘significant and detailed duty of care processes in place’ for participants. An inquest into Mr Dymond’s death is expected to be opened within a few days.
■ A FORMER runner on the Jeremy Kyle Show claims guests would be dressed in tracksuits and hoodies — which they had to hand back at the end of the recording. The ex-employee also told the BBC: ‘I saw things that you would never imagine happening on any other TV programme — guests running around the place uncontrollably, screaming and swearing at production crew.’