Jeremy Kyle is 'heartbroken' that Steve Dymond killed himself after a failing a lie detector on his show, pals say.
ITV has axed the show for good, and MPs launched a probe into reality TV in the wake of this tragedy and two Love Island deaths.
Worried ITV sources are keeping in “constant contact” with Kyle as he stays holed up in his home “understandably in bits” about Mr Dymond’s death.
They said Kyle, 53, was distraught after learning Steve, 63, had been found dead, days after filming The Jeremy Kyle Show earlier this month.
Jeremy told The Sun: “Myself and the production team I have worked with for the last 14 years are all utterly devastated by the recent events. Our thoughts and sympathies are with Steve’s family and friends at this incredibly sad time.”
Mr Dymond’s friends said he had been driven to suicide when a lie detector showed he had cheated on his fiancee.
His death led the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee to announce an inquiry into reality shows.
Committee chairman Damian Collins said ITV “made the right decision to permanently cancel The Jeremy Kyle Show”, but “that should not be the end of the matter”.
It is understood that ITV told Kyle on Tuesday the show, which began in 2005, was being axed – the day the presenter chose to set up a new company with his girlfriend Vicky Burton, 37.
Companies House records show Kyle owns 85% of Hales Media Limited, while Ms Burton owns 15%.
It raises the possibility that Kyle, whose show had ratings of around one million, could work for other channels, even though ITV said it was planning to work with him on other shows and sources said he was still very much “part of the ITV family”.
ITV faced scrutiny previously after the deaths of Love Island contestants.
Sophie Gradon, 32, who was in the second series, was found dead last year, and Mike Thalassitis, 26, who was in the third series, was found hanged in March.
Love Island viewers complained to Ofcom last year, accusing the show of “emotional cruelty” to Dani Dyer , 23.
There were also concerns for the emotional welfare of comedian Brian Conley, 57, when he appeared to break down on ITV show I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in November 2012.
Announcing the select committee probe would start this summer, Mr Collins said in a statement: “There needs to be an independent review of the duty of care TV companies have to participants in reality TV shows.
“Programmes like The Jeremy Kyle Show risk putting people who might be vulnerable on to a public stage at a point in their lives when they are unable to foresee the consequences, either for themselves or their families.
“This kind of TV featuring members of the public attracts viewing figures in the millions, but in return for ratings, the broadcasters must demonstrate their duty of care to the people whose personal lives are being exposed. With an increasing demand for this type of programming, we’ll be examining broadcasting regulation in this area – is it fit for purpose?”
ITV said they would fully co-operate with the inquiry.
The broadcaster said in a statement: “ITV takes our responsibilities very seriously and has duty-of-care measures in place for participants in all our programmes. We welcome the Select Committee’s announcement. ITV will be fully engaged in their inquiry.”
ITV chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall announced yesterday morning that the show was to be cancelled permanently “given the gravity of recent events”.
She said in a statement: “The Jeremy Kyle Show has had a loyal audience and has been made by a dedicated production team for 14 years, but now is the right time for the show to end.
“Everyone at ITV’s thoughts and sympathies are with the family and friends of Steve Dymond.”
Mr Dymond’s body was found at an address in Portsmouth on May 9.
Hampshire Police said the death was not being treated as suspicious and a file was being prepared for the coroner.
Earlier this week, Michael Bradley said his friend Mr Dymond had told his landlady he felt suicidal after the show.
He took part because he had wanted to prove to his fiancee Jane Callaghan that he had not cheated on her, but he failed a lie detector test on the show.
Mr Bradley said: “He told her, ‘I’ve had enough, I’m going to kill myself.’ He failed the test, but was adamant he hadn’t done anything wrong, saying, ‘I’ll come up with flying colours, I’ve never cheated.’ He got made out to be wrong but he wasn’t.
“Those lie detector tests aren’t 100%…he contacted Jeremy Kyle himself to prove he was innocent. That’s how confident he was.”
Babette Lucas-Marriott was in The Jeremy Kyle Show audience when Mr Dymond’s story was filmed.
Ms Lucas-Marriott said the show, which has not been broadcast, was “uncomfortable” viewing and that Mr Dymond and his fiancee were “completely and utterly devastated”.
On Tuesday, Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright said it was a “deeply concerning case” as he called for broadcasters and production companies to have “appropriate levels of support in place”. Following the death of Mike Thalassitis earlier this year, ITV said its “duty of care is a continuous and ongoing process for each [Love] Islander”.
The broadcaster added that a review had led it to “extend our support processes to offer therapy to all Islanders and not only those that reach out to us”.
It added: “We will be delivering bespoke training to all future Islanders to include social media and financial management.”
ITV said it would also no longer be “reliant on the Islanders asking us for support but for us to pro-actively check in with them on a regular basis”.
The new series of Love Island is expected start on ITV2 next month.
Ofcom said it would still review the findings of ITV’s probe into The Jeremy Kyle Show episode which Mr Dymond appeared in. The media regulator said in a statement: “While ITV has decided to cancel the programme, its investigation into what happened is continuing and we will review the findings carefully.
“It’s vital that people taking part in reality and factual shows are properly looked after.
“We’re examining whether more can be done to safeguard the welfare of those people, similar to the duty of care we have in the Broadcasting Code to protect under-18s.
“Any changes must be helpful and effective, so we’ll speak to programme participants, broadcasters, producers and psychologists before finalising any new guidance.”
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