Guests fed drugs and booze backstage: Dark secrets of Jeremy Kyle Show

The Jeremy Kyle Show guests smoked drugs with producers and were fed alcohol before going on stage, a Dispatches investigation has claimed.

The hard-hitting Channel 4 series will be airing a special devoted to the axed chat show tonight, which was suddenly cancelled following the death of Steve Dymond, who died of an overdose days after appearing on the programme and being accused of lying.

Dispatches spoke to several high-level members of staff and guests who have come forward to slam The Jeremy Kyle Show’s aftercare, alleging it was non-existent.

An anonymous producer told reporter Morland Sanders how guests with drug abuse problems were often encouraged to visit their dealer, with expenses paid for by production, before coming on air.

‘Researchers and APs and sometimes producers would smoke weed with guests in the hotels the day before to keep them happy. If guests were becoming flakey they’d appease them in any way they could,’ they said.

‘There was a contributor who was a drug addict and had since stopped taking drugs and cleaned their act up. But in actual fact the show wanted them to be on drugs, because there was no ‘story’ without it. One of the producers was asked “get that person to take drugs again” and at one point was asked “leave money lying around on a table so they will take that money and go and buy drugs with it”.’

They continued: ‘The guests were treated like cattle. Behind the scenes they created a kind of maze. It’s so if the guests run off the stage it’s a controlled environment. The cameraman knows where to go. The guest won’t be able to find their way out because it all looks the same.’

Another unnamed producer who worked on The Jeremy Kyle Show when it launched in 2005 said staff were instructed to use a technique called Talking Up, which was essentially antagonising guests before they faced Jeremy.

‘All the new staff that were on the show got taken to a big meeting, and we were taught, about this process that they used on the show called “Talking Up” which I’d not come across before, essentially ‘cause the show is about conflict resolution, you need the people that come on the show to be in conflict when you get on… when they’re on the show,’ they explained.

‘So, it was about developing a rapport with somebody, and then using that rapport to wind them up, …Before I watched… before I started on the show, when I was just watching it as a viewer, you kind of assume that the people who act like that on the show are just normally like that, and they must just be like that in their normal life, and I think working on the show you sort of realise that … they’ve been produced to be that way.’

Another member of production said he often saw cans of lager being taken to contributors backstage, heading to dressing rooms, which they were told was for ‘medicinal purposes’ to keep alcoholics ‘topped up’.

Stacey Talley, a guest who appeared on the programme last May, claimed she was sent home without any aftercare despite precious struggles with depression.

‘I’ve tried to take my life before, they already knew that,’ she told Sanders. ‘So they knew I was vulnerable before I even went there. I was like, “I can’t do this, my anxiety’s so bad. Like just tell Les that I don’t want to do it, I’m sorry, I can’t do it.” And they was like… well basically as soon as you sign that contract that is it – the control is out of your hands then. You’re screwed, you’re going on that show.’

Dwayne Davison, who was dubbed the most hated Jeremy Kyle Show guest ever, told Dispatches he was locked away in a room for 10 hours without a phone or means to contact his partner.

‘They’re trying to get you in a position where – where you – where you’re very tense, you know,’ he said.

An ITV spokesperson has denied all the allegations.

‘ITV has many years of experience broadcasting and creating programmes featuring members of the public, and each of our productions has duty of care measures in place for contributors. All of our 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 had significant and detailed duty of care processes in place for contributors built up over 14 years, and there have been numerous positive outcomes from this series, where people have resolved long-standing personal problems,’ the channel stressed.

‘Guests were supported by our guest welfare team prior to filming, throughout filming and after filming. Should they require ongoing help then appropriate solutions were found for them. This could include residential rehabilitation, counselling, anger management, family mediation, child access mediation or couples counselling.’

Debunking Talley’s claims she was never offered any aftercare, ITV continued: ‘Our records show that relationship counselling was offered to both Stacey and her partner but that as he refused to attend, it could not be provided. Both Stacey and her partner were aware that the relationship counselling service would continue to be on offer, should he change his mind.

‘All guests are contacted within 24 hours of a recording so we were aware of Stacey’s suicide attempt and organised some counselling sessions for her.’

Hitting back at Davison’s allegations he was locked in a private room, a spokesperson added: ‘No one is ever locked in a dressing room and no guest has been in a dressing room for 10 hours. Guests are brought to the studio approximately three hours before a recording.

‘If Dwayne had told the production team about his mental health problems after appearing twice on the programme, steps would have been taken to remove clips from our YouTube channel and to not repeat the programmes.’

Jeremy Kyle: TV on Trial airs tonight at 8pm on Channel 4. 

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