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Judge’s ‘bear-baiting’ comment resurfaces as Jeremy Kyle Show axed

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Whilst Kyle’s US counterpart, Jerry Springer, is sued for wrongful death just as he is set to make debut as Judge Jerry

📸 ITV

The prescient words of District Judge Alan Berg slamming the highly controversial daytime Jeremy Kyle Show have come back to the fore following the announcement today that the show has been permanently cancelled.

Berg came up with his vivid description of the show in a magistrate court case way back in 2007. He said at the time: “It is less a show than a form of human bear-baiting — that is how I see it — which goes under the guise of entertainment.”

The judge’s bear-baiting label has made the headlines again recently as a result of renewed public concern over the morality of the show in the light of the death of one individual, Steven Dymond, after taking a lie detector test whilst filming, culminating in today’s announcement that ITV has permanently cancelled it.

Berg was the judge in the Manchester case regarding one David Staniforth who headbutted another individual during the show after he had an affair with Staniforth’s wife. Reported in the Manchester Evening News at the time, Berg said:

“It seems to me that the purpose of this show is to effect a morbid and depressing display of dysfunctional people whose lives are in turmoil, often in some perceived or actual dispute with each other for the purposes of titillating bored members of the public who have nothing better to do in the morning than watch trash TV.”

He also observed: “This type of incident is exactly what the producers want.”

Though the case and the judge’s scathing indictment were widely covered by the press at the time, The Jeremy Kyle Show continued to run and run clocking up 3,000 shows since 2005 — right up until today, over a decade later.

Nor was Berg the only judge to pass judgment on the ITV hit show. A couple of years later, in 2009, a similar case came before a judge in Peterborough Crown Court. In this case, an individual had appeared on the show along with his girlfriend at the time over his accusations of her infidelity. When they watched the programme later together, it prompted another terrible dispute between the two culminating in Jamie Juste assaulting the girlfriend; he was jailed for two years for it.

Judge Sean Enright hearing the case commented:

“I have not seen this show, which I believe is classified as light entertainment, but there is plainly an element of cruelty and exploitation in what takes place.”

He also said to Juste that his sentence “would have been higher still but for the involvement of the television show, which seems to have fed your insecurities.”

Meanwhile, in the US, Jerry Springer, whose show from the 1990s arguably created the formula that The Jeremy Kyle Show imitated so successfully, has been in a lawsuit of wrongful death being brought by the family of a young man who appeared on the show and who, later on, took his own life.

Filed in Jefferson Circuit Court earlier this month, the family of Blake Alvey are suing Springer as well as the network, NBC. The suit alleges that Alvey killed himself “as a result of severe emotional and mental suffering and anguish.”

The family issued a statement that: “The Jerry Springer Show was designed to humiliate and exploit people like Blake, [disregarding] the devastating consequences that their conduct can have on people’s lives.”

This does not appear to have hampered Springer’s or NBC’s ambitions in the reality TV world. Though the original show was axed last year, they will be launching a new show, Judge Jerry, this Autumn.

An inquest into the death of Steven Dymond is expected shortly at Portsmouth Coroners Court.

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16 Comments

Anonymous

I find it annoying how dozens of media outlets are referring to the death of Steven Dymond and the fact that he appeared on Jeremy Kyle without even acknowledging the allusion that they themselves are making.

It’s as if they think they are somehow being responsible by not mentioning the word ‘suicide’. In fact, it’s the very opposite of responsible. They’re spreading innuendo, forcing the reader to make a guess as to why Mr Dymond is now dead.

Anonymous

A truly appalling show.
Kyle is a hypocritical cocksucker.

Paul starling

Yessss my friend he is one person who I would happily watch hang.

Anonymous

In fact, this is the new reporting standard—to not explicitly mention suicide. This reduces the risk of copycat attempts, which skyrocket after poor reporting.

Anonymous

where’s the proof of that?

Paul starling

Just read that Kyle is devastated that his show has been cancelled. What about the poor fellas life and the family and friends who have to pick up the pieces

Anonymous

Poor Kyle- crying all the way to the bank, no doubt.

Anonymous

“Grant Cunningham, ITV’s head of factual programming publicity, said the safety of guests was of “paramount importance” and added that Juste and Miss Langley were given advice and counselling after appearing on the show at Juste’s own request.

He said: “With respect to the judge, we are surprised at his remarks given that he pointed out that he has not seen our programme, and we absolutely refute the notion that it involves cruelty and exploitation.”

I imagine the judge’s remarks would have been worse if he had seen it.

Anonymous

>I imagine the judge’s remarks would have been worse if he had seen it.

I dare say many district judges do go to bear baiting arenas—they work in the mags after all.

Anonymous

Excellent comment, that deserves more than a thumbs up of recognition.

Anonymous

I’m glad the Jeremy Kyle’s grating voice is going to be off the telly. His show is nothing but pure misery and poverty porn, and stupid “lie-detectors” which are as accurate as a coin-toss.

Anonymous

Breakfast and daytime TV has been a disaster. Utter shite, the lot of it. And responsible for the intellectual collapse of the nation.

We should go back to a test card until lunchtime. Then maybe a bit of Pebble Mill-style cosy chat.

With proper, three-parter Crown Court back in the afternoon we could return to the glory days.

Mind, with a Corbyn government on the horizon we can look forward to endless strikes, power cuts, fuel crises and rationing. So it’s not so unlikely that we could get decent 1970s telly back as well.

Anonymous

I don’t see what the issue with the Jeremy Kyle Show is. Plenty of working-class people manage to live decent, dignified and productive lives without having to live like degenerates – why shouldn’t we call out the scum who do?

Anonymous

Exactly this. I have a couple of cousins who earn under £30,000 per year and they are just normal people.

Anonymous

Hello Jeremy !

Anonymous

Jeremy is the type of guy who has developed a superiority complexand believes he is extremely intelligent because he only debates with the lower quartile of society.

No doubt the TV executives will replace it with similar low grade programme containing ‘drama’.

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