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Series / The Jeremy Kyle Show

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"Of course, it's not really fair to call [The Jeremy Kyle Show] a show, because it's more a distinguished public forum for civilized debate. Sorry, did I say civilized debate? Because what I actually meant to say was: It's a non-stop bellowing festival, in which a cast of people who resemble a sort of aquatic livestock chart the outer limits of incomprehension."

The Jeremy Kyle Show was a long-running British Talk Show which aired weekdays on ITV in the UK. It ran from 2005 to 2019.

Hosted by former radio host Jeremy Kyle, the show began in 2005 and dealt with current hot-button issues, including DNA tests, affairs, alcohol/drug use, dysfunctional families, abuse and more. Jeremy also used a lie detector in cases involving accusations between guests involved in infidelity, familial disputes or thefts. There were also numerous special episodes that deal with unique cases like physical/mental illnesses, prostitution and celebrities.

The main aspect that separated the show from American tabloid talk shows like Maury and Jerry Springer is that Kyle was a much more hands-on host, who wouldn't hesitate to call out guests for being duplicitous or criticize both of the main parties. He typically straight up told his guests to get themselves together instead of goading them into getting more dramatic (as is more typical for talk show hosts). He also got very personally involved in the guests' problems, using Brutal Honesty or sitting in front of them to deliver advice.

In 2011, a Transatlantic Equivalent began airing on The CW and FOX affiliates in the States. It lasted two seasons before being cancelled in 2013.

Production was suspended and the show removed from the ITV schedules and online catch-up service ITV Hub in May 2019, because a guest committed suicide a week after filming an episode in which a lie detector indicated he was cheating on his girlfriend.note  Speculation abounds as to whether the show had a direct role in influencing this person's unfortunate death, which as of 2022 seems to be the most likely cause. In any case, one day after being suspended, the show was canceled.

A Channel 4 documentary broadcast in 2022 entitled Jeremy Kyle: Death on Daytime alleged serious malpractice in the production, with guests deliberately riled up and manipulated, the staff themselves not being treated much better. Interviews conducted during the documentary with the families of guests, as well as ex-staff from the show, found that the single suicide that caused the series to be cancelled is likely not the only one that occurred during its tenure on ITV. Kyle is currently taking legal action over claims he sees as defamatory.

The show features examples of the following tropes:

  • Argument of Contradictions: A staple of most episodes. Unlike other shows, however, Jeremy usually calls them out on this and ruthlessly mocks them, or criticize everyone if he finds that they're both lying to each other.
  • The Atoner: Jeremy is this, since he lost his first marriage to a gambling addiction but changed his ways, and has admitted to stealing his dad’s car and crashing it when he was 18 and hadn’t passed his test. However, this does often invoke a case of No True Scotsman when he tries to take the higher ground and makes a Badass Boast over someone suffering through the throes of the same or a similar addiction.
  • Badass Boast: Usually occurs once per episode.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Jeremy can lose his temper with the drop of a hat, hating lazy, ignorant and selfish people, particularly when there are young parents involved. He also despises racism and homophobia.
    • Perhaps the angriest he ever gets is towards male abusers of women. In some instances, he has gone so far as to instruct Graham to ignore them, deny them aftercare and called one (particularly nasty) individual "scum." Even so, he isn't above giving both barrels to women who abuse men, and is more than willing to point out the double standard involved when such a story is featured.
    • An episode in late 2012 had Jeremy leave the stage in complete rage when three guests argue about the life of an unborn child and how its grave was vandalized by them. However, in the lie detector results, it is revealed that it was in retaliation of child's mother posting photos of dead babies online to torment her former, then-pregnant friend. Jeremy ended up sympathizing with the mother's supporting friends who are shocked by her actions.
    • Jeremy also once called for an advert break minutes earlier than expected after a guest entered on stage and promptly punched his own mother hard in the face. Jeremy stormed off the stage in utter rage, and the guest can be heard yelling 'Stupid Cunt!' even as the advert break is called in.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Many guests are revealed to be this at times. A major example is a woman named Zara, who claims to be caught in the middle between her estranged husband and her friend. Said husband blames the friend for ruining their marriage while she in turn sees him as a Domestic Abuser. It turns out that Zara has been badmouthing one to the other so that their animosity would be focused on each other. All so she can steal said friend's husband from her.
  • British Teeth:
  • Brutal Honesty: A signature part of most episodes involves Jeremy calling situations as he sees them, and he will not hesitate to lay into guests who lie (even those who initially presented themselves to be the "wronged" party).
  • Catchphrase:
    • He often has to remind a guest that won't shut up that "it's called The Jeremy Kyle Show".
    • Almost every time before he reveals the result of a Lie Detector or DNA test he says "Well, well, well", This is for the previews of what's happening next before the commercial break.
    • During reading the results of a lie detector test, Jeremy often followed some version of this:
      Jeremy: We asked [name of guest who took the test]: "Did you [do what you've been accused of doing]?" S/He answered "no." Why'd you say no?
      Guest: Because I was telling the truth.
      Jeremy: (turning the card to show the guests) The test says you're a liar!
    • "Put something on the end of it". Used so often it is lampshaded by guests.
    • "I'm going to do something I haven't done in 'X' years." Said regardless of whether he did said thing fairly recently or not.
    • "The DNA test showed that [guest]... (Beat) is/is not the child's biological father!"
    • The guests in general are prone to using the phrase "at the end of the day" - parodied here
    • Jeremy will often mention how long he's been running the show for when talking to guests.
    • "When this goes out, no one will touch you with a barge pole!"
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Some guests cause problems when they break up or become estranged.
  • Daddy DNA Test: Interestingly downplayed compared to American tabloid talk shows (like Maury) that use it as a centerpiece. While Jeremy does announce the results, he doesn't draw out the announcement nor does he sympathize with those who defend the partner that refuses to accept that the child is theirs.
  • Doting Parent: Jeremy has hints of this and dishes parental advice out to those who need it.
  • Double Standard: Notably averted. Jeremy will not hesitate to call out people of either gender who are liars, refuse to admit that a child is theirs or fake answers during the lie detector tests.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Invoked by Kyle in an episode dealing with cheaters and DNA tests. The studio audience breaks out laughing after a guest reveals that his girlfriend locked him in a room and made him unable to leave, forcing him to leap off a third-storey window and injure himself in the fall in order to escape. Kyle proceeds to call the audience out on this, pointing out that if the genders were reversed in this situation, the man would be perceived as a monster.
  • Establishing Character Moment: On the very first episode, when a guest went over to attack her sister, Jeremy's reaction? "Welcome to the show. Do that again and you're off the show."
  • Evil is Petty: Some of the actions the guests do to get back at each other are disgustingly low blows.
  • Face/Heel Double-Turn: One notable segment was a follow-up involving a woman named Christina, who came on the show to call out her boyfriend Michael for not doing enough to support the child they had together. Jeremy spends most of the original segment telling Michael off for being a deadbeat father, including yelling in his face and repeatedly insulting him. In a follow-up, Christina comes on the show to "prove" that Michael is the father with a DNA test. However, as soon as she begins speaking, Jeremy's expressions become confused, and he asks her why she's coming on if she already knows that Michael is the father. Christina says she doesn't want him to be the father because he doesn't do enough to support their son, and jokingly admits that she saw a picture of an ex-boyfriend two months before the segment who looked like her child. Jeremy immediately realizes that he was in the wrong for yelling at Michael in the past, and proceeds to lay a protracted verbal smackdown on Christina for lying to both Michael and him. He also realizes that she likely knew Michael wasn't the father in her original appearance, and points out a moment where she smiled while talking about how useless Michael is.
  • A Father to His Men: Jeremy can be very paternal to guests, usually the younger struggling couples or parents.
  • Foil: Jeremy's security guard Steve is this to Jeremy, who is often put on the spot and asked awkward questions for comedic effect.
  • Gentle Giant: Security Steve looks like he could snap a man in two, but comes off as very soft-spoken and humble. He is often the butt of Jeremy's jokes, but takes them with good humour, and is friendly to fans.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Jeremy himself.
  • Guilty Pleasure: Between the deer-in-the-headlights reactions from guests, Jeremy calling people out for being liars and the matter-of-fact nature of the segments, it is eminently watchable television.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: Jeremy often calls wife-beaters "that" instead of any gender pronoun. However the only abuser that received sympathy from Jeremy was when the abuser's mother contacted Jeremy and told him that her son was haunted by his survivor's guilt and didn't receive help for his problems.
  • Jerkass: There have been a fair few on the show, normally deadbeat and/or abusive lovers and parents.
  • Kavorka Man: Many Kavorka Men and Women are the subject of a chewing out from Jeremy for being terrible fathers or mothers.
  • Lie Detector:
    • The second most common problem solver, used to sort out truths for guests who cannot trust each other. Results and reactions are often saved for advert breaks.
    • It should be noted that lie detectors/polygraphs do not actually detect lies. The machine's readout indicates how stressed someone is in response to a question. Kyle has claimed in the past that the tests are 97% accurate. Actually, lie detector tests are closer to 70% accurate, and that's under perfect circumstances when performed by a skilled professional. Their usage played a major part in the suicides that led to the show's cancellation, as participants relied upon their results as if they were gospel with no caveats being provided.
  • Lower-Class Lout: Many of the guests are this, usually unemployed.
  • Medium Awareness: Jeremy often references Phil Schofield and Holly Willoughby whose show This Morning airs live after his, mostly in situations when the story segments become vulgar. It's such a cliche, it was included in one of the commercials.
  • No Indoor Voice: Most guests and Jeremy spend their time arguing and it can turn into a contest of who can shout the loudest.
  • Papa Wolf:
    • Jeremy can get very angry when it comes to the guests who let their actions endanger or neglect the lives of children. Fitting because Jeremy is a father himself.
    • On one episode, in which a guest was revealed to have treated his staff horribly, Jeremy mentions that among his staff included kids, who he outright states that they're not paid nearly enough for their hard work.
  • Point-and-Laugh Show:
    • A large slice of its viewing demographic is inclined to treat the show as this. Others might shake their heads in disbelief and see it as a Point-And-Weep Show. Maybe encouraging people in the affluent AB demographic to see it as a freak show, parading egregious members of the underclass for the entertainment of their social betters, gets the big-money advertising in. It was certainly repeated later in the day on other ITV channels, and it is noticeable how the quality and type of the adverts is completely different - more upmarket products aimed at affluent people.
    • Jeremy lampshaded the audience's laugh-and-point reaction once when a guy who is in an abusive relationship admitted he had to jump out a three story window to escape a locked apartment. Jeremy proceeded to chew them out.
    • The magistrate who handled the actual bodily harm case of the man who headbutted a fellow guest described the show as "a form of human bear baiting" before sentencing him to a £300 fine and £60 costs, suggesting the producers should have been in the dock with him. That was in 2007 - the show would run another twelve years.
  • Only Sane Man: Often whenever the guests argue to the point of the subjects turning into nothing, Jeremy often becomes this.
  • Recurring Character: Many of the mouthy guests often return for more drama in their lives. If it was a guest that had an unpleasant experience on their previous visit, Jeremy either asks them why they wanted to return or tells them to never come back.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Jeremy once walked out on a show because a guest threatened him. After a break, the show's lie detector results were read backstage.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Discussed. Some of the guests had an attitude of being incredibly attractive, intelligent, or tough that Jeremy would find greatly overstepped their actual ability. Jeremy would not hesitate to let them know it, either.
  • The Stoic: Graham Stainer has yet to lose his temper on the show.
    • Averted in March 2013 where Graham expresses Tranquil Fury when a previous guest opted to take Graham's rehabilitation program, only to immediately start taking drugs again after the ones in his body were flushed out.
  • Transatlantic Equivalent: His American show. Also Maury, for all intents and purposes.
  • Tranquil Fury: Jeremy Kyle himself expressed this on a rare occasion when a male domestic abuse sufferer was talking about the horrific injuries he suffered while trying to escape from his abusive partner. When he stated that he had to jump from a third-storey window and suffer multiple fractures on the ground, Jeremy's audience (which was made up almost completely by women for that specific episode) proceeded to laugh and belittle him for several seconds. Jeremy proceeded to unleash a long speech where he chewed them out. To make matters worse, the audience then went deathly quiet, probably assuming the "If I am quiet, I can put the blame on someone else" fallacy.
  • The Unfair Sex:
  • Use Your Head: The show's most controversial occurence happened when a man headbutted another man on stage. Something which the censors weren't prepared for. Topped when a man punched his own mother in the face.
  • Very Special Episode: The show has had several specials dealing with the consequences of prostitution and drug abuse, disabled children, confronting murderers, rapists and paedophiles, and a rather heated episode with the Westboro Baptist Church.
  • Violence Discretion Shot: In an episode in circa 2007, an angry guest headbutted another, which led to a large backlash from viewers and became a big debate in the news about censorship. Possibly because of this, whenever guests become violent, the camera will cut to a Reaction Shot from the audience as audio plays over of the fighting.
  • Wife-Basher Basher: Jeremy hates abusers of women. His first comment when they enter is usually along the lines of "why are wife-beaters always scrawny bastards who can't hit a real man."