Government to launch inquiry into reality TV duty of care following deaths

The UK government is to launch an inquiry into the aftercare provided to reality TV contestants.


It comes as ITV axe The Jeremy Kyle Show after more than 10 years following the death of a participant shortly after filming.

The tragic incident followed the deaths of two former Love Island contestants: Mike Thalassitis died aged 26 earlier this year while Sophie Gradon passed away, aged 32 last year after appearing on the show in 2016. An inquest held in April this year ruled her death a suicide.

Love Island subsequently announced plans to offer more support to contestants ahead of the fifth season this summer.

The Guardian now reports that the digital, culture, media and sport select committee has announced plans to launch a formal inquiry into the care and support given to those who take part in UK TV shows.

Chairman Damian Collins said: “There needs to be an independent review of the duty of care TV companies have to participants in reality TV shows and the DCMS select committee has decided to hold an inquiry this summer into these issues.

“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.


“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.”

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

The publication reports that TV executives may be called to give evidence, with the inquiry considering “stricter regulations on how contestants are treated”.

A number of former contestants and guests on TV shows have spoken up this week about their experiences.

2012 X Factor finalist Lucy Spraggan took to Twitter today to write: “As soon as the show is finished, that’s it. Why isn’t there support? Does it cost too much? More than a life? The suicides won’t stop.”


“I’ve been there, it’s f***ing lonely,” she wrote. “And believe me, I have a lot more to say about it. Which I will.”

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