Ex-Jeremy Kyle contestant claims show ‘ruined his life’ as he gives evidence

A former contestant on The Jeremy Kyle Show has claimed the show ‘ruined his life’ while giving evidence to MPs during a reality TV inquiry.

Robert Gregory and Dwayne Davison appeared in front of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) select committee in Westminster, who are investigating the treatment of contestants throughout their time on the show.

The inquiry was sparked by the death of contestant Steve Dymond after he took a lie detector test on The Jeremy Kyle Show, along with the suicides of Love Island stars Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Gradon.

Speaking at the inquiry, Dwayne Davison, who was branded the show’s ‘most hated’ guest back in 2014, said how the stigma he received has cost him jobs and has negatively impacted his mental health through social media abuse.

‘I couldn’t get rid of this weight of Jeremy Kyle around my shoulders,’ Dwayne said. ‘Everyone on my street knows, everyone I know knows. I just felt like I was in a nightmare of a movie.

‘And I still feel like this now. I just thought, you know what, I wish I could die. I know it sounds really brutal, but I thought, you know what I’ve lost that job, I’ve got to get into another job and they’ll kick me out again because it’s the same thing I can’t control, this Jeremy Kyle Show thing.’

Dwayne described how he attempted to take his own life in 2018 due to the stigma attached to him.

‘So all these things happened at once,’ Dwayne continued. ‘In 2018, I’d never done this before, I took 30 codeine tablets and I just went upstairs and I swallowed them all.

‘I don’t remember any of it but basically my partner told me they gave me an injection which made my lungs start working again. I just think the Jeremy Kyle Show, it might not be so direct, they don’t own my employer, but the Jeremy Kyle Show has indirectly ruined my life and I can’t stop it still ruining my life.

He added: ‘I feel like I can’t escape it basically. Even today I still feel like I’ve got the weight around my shoulders.’

Earlier in the inquiry, the pair described some of their treatment while on the show, claiming they were locked in a room for 10 hours by producers before they were allowed on set – with a runner outside on standby to answer questions.

‘I’m sat in a room all day, the smallest, tiniest room you’ve ever seen,’ Dwayne said. ‘One toilet, you get your phone taken off you and property to start with, and you sit in a room with a television which doesn’t work.

‘I’m sat in this room for ten hours and I had to knock on the door and the runner will open the door who’s sat outside. I’m sat in there for 10 hours with nothing to do. And my partner has been taken away from me.’

Shocked by the claim, an MP on the committee said: ‘I find it astonishing. It sounds horrific what you’re describing.

‘I think someone in police custody would have better rights than the treatment you were given before and after the show.’

Gregory said his appearance on the show was a ‘character assassination’, claiming he was falsely represented on the show as someone who ‘rejected his son 47 years ago’ despite telling producers beforehand he didn’t know he existed.

‘They crucified me,’ Gregory said about appearing on the show. ‘They absolutely ripped me apart.’

The pair also claimed aftercare on The Jeremy Kyle Show ‘doesn’t exist’, describing how they were simply offered £20 to buy a meal after the show.

The Jeremy Kyle show was axed on May 15 earlier this year, which was announced following the death of Steven Dymond who died from an overdose.

‘Given the gravity of recent events we have decided to end production of The Jeremy Kyle Show,’ Carolyn McCall, ITV’s CEO, 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.’

An ITV spokesperson previously issued a statement to Metro.co.uk on the show’s aftercare, saying: ‘The Jeremy Kyle Show 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.’

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