The death of a Jeremy Kyle Show guest is a “deeply concerning case”, Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman has said.
“Broadcasters and production companies have a responsibility for the mental health and well-being of participants and viewers of their programmes,” they said.
“We are clear they must have appropriate levels of support in place.”
The guest who died following filming was named as 63-year-old Steve Dymond, who reportedly took his own life.
Mr Dymond took a lie-detector test to convince fiancee Jane Callaghan he had not cheated but they split after he failed, according to The Sun.
ITV has said the Jeremy Kyle Show “has significant and detailed duty of care processes” for its guests.
The daytime show was taken off air indefinitely following Mr Dymond’s death, which happened a week after he filmed the show.
A spokesman for the Gosport coroner said: “HM Coroner has ordered a post-mortem to be carried out and is awaiting the result. An inquest is likely to be opened into the death within the next few days.”
The controversial programme has been criticised by MPs for failing to look after its guests, as calls mount for it to be cancelled for good.
Ms Callaghan said Mr Dymond had been “quietly struggling”, but praised the show’s team for their after-care efforts.
She told the newspaper: “They were brilliant. They were there when he needed help. They were really persistent in offering him help.”
Ms Callaghan said that just before they went on the show, Mr Dymond had convinced her he had not cheated.
She said the pair split up after the show, reportedly filmed on 2 May, and last saw him four days later before Mr Dymond was found dead last week.
She added: “I can’t see Steve taking his life without explaining it to me first.
“But he always said he would never love someone else.”
Damian Collins, chairman of the commons digital, culture, media and sport committee, said TV companies “have a duty to care to the people who take part in their programmes”, while Tory MP Simon Hart, who also sits on the committee, described the Jeremy Kyle Show as “car-crash TV which revels in people’s terrible misfortune and sometimes their vulnerabilities”.
Charles Walker, vice-chair of the parliamentary group on combating suicide and self-harm, called on ITV to stop commissioning the show
Mr Walker demanded a crackdown on programmes that put people under a “huge amount of pressure and wait until they go pop”.
The episode featuring the guest who died will be submitted for a review due to the “seriousness of this event”, ITV said.
A spokesman for ITV said the channel has “many years’ experience” creating programmes featuring members of the public and always has duty of care measures in place.
The spokesman added the processes are “regularly reviewed to ensure that they are fit for purpose in an ever-changing landscape”.
“In the case of The Jeremy Kyle Show, the programme has significant and detailed duty of care processes in place for contributors pre, during and post show which have been built up over 14 years, and there have been numerous positive outcomes from this, including people who have resolved complex and long-standing personal problems,” they added.
“Prior to the show a comprehensive assessment is carried out by the guest welfare team on all potential contributors. The guest welfare team consists of four members of staff, one consultant psychotherapist and three mental health nurses.”
They said the guests are supported by the guest welfare team before, during and after filming, “to ensure they are feeling calm and emotionally settled before any participant leaves to travel home”.
The day after recording the participant will be contacted by production to carry out a welfare check, the spokesman added.
The show has run on ITV since 2005 and features Kyle solving the problems of his guests through on-stage mediation – which often involves a lie detector.
ITV’s support for its reality stars has also come under scrutiny following the deaths of two former Love Island contestants.
Sophie Gradon, 32, who appeared on the show in 2016, was found hanged in June by her boyfriend, who later took his own life in similar circumstances.
In March this year another Love Island contestant, Mike Thalassitis, was found hanged in a north London park.
ITV and The Jeremy Kyle Show say they are “shocked and saddened” at news of the death of a participant in the show a week after the recording and they will not screen the episode in which they featured.
“Given the seriousness of this event, ITV has also decided to suspend both filming and broadcasting of The Jeremy Kyle Show with immediate effect in order to give it time to conduct a review of this episode of the show, and we cannot comment further until this review is completed.”
:: Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK.
The Jeremy Kyle Show guest who died following filming was a 63-year-old man who took his own life, according to reports. Various newspaper reports name the man as grandfather Steve Dymond. Mr Dymond took a lie-detector test to convince fiancee Jane Callaghan he had not cheated but they split after he failed, according to The Sun.