ITV's reality programs cause concern for well being of participants


Love Island has previously been under scrutiny after being associated with multiple suicides of former Islanders and is somehow still on air. Maura Higgins has revealed just how overwhelming her experience was on the show, and that has us asking... Why are programs like this still around?

It's not a new fact that reality television programs have been some of the most viewed programs on cable. However in spite of recent events, how can we tell when TV programs have gone too far? From emotional breakdowns to suicide attempts, the guests of these shows should have never been subjected to the conditions they were thrown into in the first place.

ITV has had two popular television series' cause controversy to say the least, both programs being linked with a number of suicide attempts as well as some successful ones. The Jeremy Kyle Show and Love Island, are both very popular programs but perhaps the public do not fully realise what conditions these participants are being subjected too.

The now cancelled Jeremy Kyle Show debuted on ITV in 2005. Guests bring personal, emotional issues to the show, and Jeremy Kyle bluntly examines each scenario. The controversial show has sparked judgement from various critics.

In 2007, one judge described ITV’s daytime programme as “human bear-baiting.” It’s almost like watching a real-life Hunger Games unfold on screen. Past producers have revealed crew members would provoke guests behind-the-scenes—they wanted to make sure that the guests brought entertainment, drama, and emotion to the stage when cameras rolled.

Love Island is a British dating reality program that aired in 2015 staring guests who apply for the show who are part of the general public. Recently participants from both programs testified to member's of parliament about the working conditions of the programs as well as the state of their after-care programs.

Maura Higgins a former cast member of ITV2's Love Island recently opened up about a breakdown she had that was kept secret and never shown to the public. She had reached a point while filming the program where she wanted to quit, the show had forced her to miss meaningful family events as well as put her under an insane amount of stress. She mention at one point in her podcast: 'I actually stormed out of the villa and said, I want to go home, I can't do it anymore, I can't find a man'

The resulting emotional trauma recurring and even one time guests go through after appearing on these shows can be a testament to how tasteless and degrading the programs are capable of being. And despite ITV's "significant and detailed duty of care processes in place" it seems as though these processes are not enough to ensure the mental well-being and safety of their contestants.

The recent death of Steve Dymond on The Jeremy Kyle Show had truly enlightened viewers on how debilitating the show was. From staged reality to emotional turmoil just this one incident was enough to cancel the show. Love Island has also seen a couple of their ex-stars pass from Mike Thalassitis and Shopie Gradon, with some starts mentioning that they've barely been contacted by the producers to check in and see how they were coping with the losses and their own lives.

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