A former guest on The Jeremy Kyle Show said he struggled to find work, was harassed in the street, and even attempted suicide after his appearance on the programme.
Dwayne Davison was labelled the most hated Jeremy Kyle guest ever, and received continuous public shaming since taking part in an episode, which was viewed by millions of people.
According to Dwayne, the show is edited to portray the guests badly, with deliberate attempts to provoke guests into causing offence, with the aftercare provided by the production team undone by the way footage was used in the edit.
Speaking to The Guardian, Dwayne said:
It’s the worst thing that has ever happened in my life. They put the spoon in and stirred around my whole life.
Calls have recently been made for ITV to cancel the long-running show, after the sudden death of a former guest. 63-year-old Steve Dymond failed a lie detector test on the programme, and was sadly found at his home ten days later. An official cause of death is yet to be determined by a coroner.
27-year-old Davison appeared on the show five years ago, but repeat airings and social media meant he has received constant backlash.
I’ve had loads and loads of abuse and in 2018 I decided I’d had enough. My girlfriend had some toothache medication, I took a load of it, and I can’t remember the rest. A few hours later my girlfriend came upstairs and she called the ambulance.
At the hospital they said I would have died. I know this is putting responsibility on other places but I 100% put it on that show. That show has ruined my life. It’s evil.
Davison appeared on the show when he was in his early 20s. He was unemployed and living in Nottingham, and in a relationship with a woman who was convinced he had cheated on him. They contacted the programme as a way to set the record straight between themselves, wanting to take the free lie-detector test.
After contacting the show, things moved incredibly quickly for the couple.
Within an hour there was a taxi at the door. You don’t have time to think about it or phone your family. Once you’re at the hotel, you feel you have to do the show. My mum begged me not to go on.
Dwayne said he was asked by producers whether he struggled with any mental health issues, and had to sign a contract so quickly he didn’t have time to read it.
Though Dwayne admits he came across as aggressive on the show, he says this is because he was kept alone in a backstage room for most the day, and was provoked into certain behaviours by Kyle and his team. He said: ‘They tell you over and over again when you’re backstage that Jeremy hates people who don’t talk.’
Dwayne said he was advised to wear a tracksuit ‘to fit the desired image’, and that the show is ‘good at manipulating – it’s almost magic what they do’.
These are things that people don’t understand. They’re watching thinking I’m evil and bad. They don’t get to see why I’m so riled up. I wouldn’t want to talk to the person they portrayed on that show.
I came on to try and redeem myself but he [Kyle] saw I was calm, so he kept trying to prod and poke. It’s human bear-baiting and he knows just how to provoke a response.
ITV has maintained it provides followup care for guests after they appear on the show, though Dwayne said: ‘To get two phone calls doesn’t seem like much aftercare.’
The former guest believes significantly more damage was done when the show decided to upload clips of the show to YouTube, with captions describing him as the ‘rudest’ and ‘most hated guest ever’.
As Dwayne said: ‘It’s like stabbing someone in the back multiple times and then asking if the person is OK.’
Five years since his appearance, Dwayne is still in a relationship with the same partner, has a job, and is seeking medical help from his doctor for depression. He has called for ITV’s chief executive to reconsider the impact the show is having, saying: ‘Is it going to take more people to die for them to think maybe we are ruining people’s lives?’
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.