TV shows to face new rules on protecting participants

TV shows will face new rules on looking after participants following scrutiny over Love Island and Jeremy Kyle’s programme.

Ofcom has said that those taking part in TV and radio programmes must be “properly looked after” by broadcasters.

It has announced new measures “in recognition of the growing openness and concern in society about mental health and wellbeing”.

“We have also seen a steady rise in complaints about the welfare of people taking part in programmes in recent years,” the TV watchdog said.

Jeremy Kyle's show was axed
Jeremy Kyle's show was axed

Broadcasters will need to take due care in programmes featuring “conflict or emotionally challenging situations” or if it “requires a person to disclose life-changing or private aspects of their lives”.

Adam Baxter, Ofcom’s director of standards and audience protection, said: “People taking part in TV and radio programmes deserve to be properly looked after.

“Our new protections set a clear standard of care for broadcasters to meet – striking a careful balance between broadcasters’ creative freedom and the welfare of the people they feature.”

Broadcasters have faced increased scrutiny following the deaths of former Love Island contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis.

The Jeremy Kyle Show was axed following the death of guest Steve Dymond.

Ofcom said people taking part in programmes must be informed about any potential welfare risks from appearing.

Treatment of people who appear to be put at risk of significant harm, as a result of taking part in a programme, is now included as an explicit example of material that may cause offence to audiences.

The measures do not apply to most news and current affairs programming.

The rules will apply to programmes that begin production from early April.