Good riddance to television show which glorified the worst in people

Date: Tuesday 4th June 2019

IT was reassuring during Mental Health Awareness Week to see the sudden withdrawal of ITV’s Jeremy Kyle Show.

Calls for its cancellation have been ignored for years, despite what seems like obvious harm and disregard for individual and family wellbeing. It is shocking that tragic circumstances should come about before the tide started to turn.

The show often glorified the worst in people, promoting saints and sinners without context and adding to a growing mythology of so-called working-class fecklessness and shamelessness.

It encouraged citizens who should have been allies in adversity to judge, mock and hate each other.

When we lose face we often act recklessly — more so when the stakes are upped in public: the Jeremy Kyle Show specialised in such manipulations of divide and rule.

Human sadness and hopelessness were crafted towards venom and recrimination, with the only defence being an entertainment value costing people their sense of self and in some cases their lives. It may have claimed and wished to have an ultimately healing reputation, but it did so with a dog-whistle.

As viewers we are better than that, and ready for something better too. Let’s hope it is replaced by something psychologically safer and more life-affirming.