THE decision to end The Jeremy Kyle Show, after the suspected suicide of one of its guests, raises important questions about aftercare on reality TV.
But equally telling is how much criticism of Kyle’s show has revealed a snobbishness about the people who watched and appeared on it.
Tory MP Charles Walker called it “unattractive television”. A columnist at the left-leaning New Statesman magazine described it as curating “a morbidly chaotic picture of a British underclass — for those watching at home to scoff and sneer”.
Over at the self-appointed moral compass of Britain, The Guardian, an editorial complained it preyed on “vulnerable, unhappy people”, turning “a blind eye to mental health problems”.
Guardian writer Zoe Williams had previously claimed: “Jeremy Kyle has created the cultural spectre of this feral underclass, none of whom has the smallest amount of emotional restraint.”
Such bile aimed at a show loved by so many — the final episode, on Friday last week, drew over a million viewers — reveals as much about Kyle as who our commentariat feel has the right to speak, and how they are meant to do it.
I didn’t watch Kyle to sneer. I watched with relief that some people were truly open about the madness of life. What happens to them now?