Opinion

Sunday 16 June 2019

Ian O'Doherty: ''Jeremy Kyle Show' made fools of the working class - it won't be missed'

The Jeremy Kyle Show has been cancelled by ITV (REX/PA)
The Jeremy Kyle Show has been cancelled by ITV (REX/PA)
Ian O'Doherty

Ian O'Doherty

If there was any surprise in the news that The Jeremy Kyle Show has been cancelled following the death of a recent participant, it was that it has taken this long for such a tragedy to happen.

It was always a pretty vile show, and such bear-baiting has always walked a fine line between entertainment and exploitation. The suspected suicide wasn't even the first death to result from this kind of genre. The Jenny Jones Show, a US daytime talk show of the 1990s, featured a man who subsequently shot his neighbour.

But it has been interesting to witness the sheer hatred many middle-class pundits hold towards the people who go on such programmes - a hatred that often seemed to be shared by the producers themselves.

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A visiting Martian would be forgiven for thinking that the British working class were all gap-toothed morons with appalling morals and even more appalling taste in tracksuits.

Kyle didn't hold up a mirror to society, as he so disingenuously claimed - instead he picked the forgotten people from the lowest rungs of society and made them look like savages.

Viewing data down the years has thrown up a few interesting stats about the audience - it was actually more popular with students and the so-called middle classes than it ever was with the average person.

Look at these illiterate freaks, was the message, and laugh at them.

Look at them and jeer and thank your stars that you're so much better than they are.

That was always the deeply unpleasant subtext to each episode and while all the people who appeared had signed waivers and knew what they were letting themselves in for, they were merely props for other people's derision.

It won't be missed.

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