POLITICIANS are backing rules being toughened up to protect the wellbeing of people taking part in reality TV shows after the death of a grandfather.
Dad-of-one Steve Dymond, 63, of Grafton Street, Buckland, was found dead in his rented room just seven days after failing a lie detector test while filming for ITV’s The Jeremy Kyle Show.
The machinery operator had been kicked out of his ex-fiancee Jane Callaghan’s home in Gosport in February.
Now the town’s MP Caroline Dinenage is supporting Ofcom’s move to better protect reality TV contestants.
The changes would insist that:
:: Due care must be taken over the welfare, wellbeing and dignity of participants in programmes
:: Participants must not be caused unjustified distress or anxiety by taking part in programmes or by the broadcast of those programmes
Mr Dymond failed the detector test after allegedly cheating on his ex-fiance Ms Callaghan. The Sun reported he phoned his estranged son Carl Woolley and said: ‘Kyle really laid into me.’
Ms Dinenage said: ‘Broadcasters should be taking the mental health and wellbeing of its participants very seriously. Failure to address issues with reality TV, in the past, has had devastating effects.
‘The introduction of Ofcom’s new proposed rules would strengthen safeguarding measures for participants.’
Portsmouth Coroner’s Court heard from Detective Sergeant Marcus Mills that the Mr Dymond was found in May surrounded by empty boxes of morphine and letters and cards addressed to Jane and his son.
Ms Callaghan previously told The News her former lover was a ‘monster’ but added: ‘I cared about him and he loved me.’
Tony Close, director of content standards for TV regulator Ofcom, said: ‘People who take part in TV and radio shows must be properly looked after by broadcasters, and these rules would ensure that happens.
‘These new safeguards must be effective. So we're listening carefully to programme participants, broadcasters, producers and psychologists before we finalise them.’
Participants will get advice on social media use in future.
The Jeremy Kyle Show was axed after Mr Dymond’s death. A show spokesman said the team was ‘saddened and shocked’.
A consultation closes on September 23.