‘Hunted’ Jeremy Kyle diagnosed with anxiety disorder after show axed

Jeremy Kyle has said he felt “hunted” and “scapegoated” after the cancellation of his TV show following the death of a guest.

The confrontational talk show was suspended indefinitely by ITV in May 2019 following the death of a participant, 63-year-old Steve Dymond, a week after a programme featuring him was filmed.

The programme, which had been a regular fixture in the TV schedule since 2005, was axed for good following calls for it to be cancelled from MPs and members of the public.

Kyle said he was unable to leave the house, and because of how low he was feeling he went to see a doctor who diagnosed him with an anxiety disorder.

He told The Sun newspaper: “I used to think ‘get a grip’ when some celebrities talked about those sort of problems.

“But suddenly I realised first-hand you can’t always do that. I never thought they would affect me like they did.

“That was a shock — but I’ve always said, ‘If you have a problem, admit it, and then seek the proper help’. So that’s what I did.”

2019 Cheltenham Festival – Ladies Day – Cheltenham Racecourse
Jeremy Kyle has said he felt ‘scapegoated’ (Andrew Matthews/PA)

He added: “Critics will say I got a taste of my own medicine but I’d been through a fair amount up until that point — and I guess it all caught up with me at once.”

Kyle said he does not want to sound “woe is me”, acknowledging that what happened was a “terrible tragedy” and “devastating” for Mr Dymond’s friends and family as well as the many people who worked on the show.

“But it did hit me hard. And it’s been awful to feel so scapegoated, and without being able to have my say about the accusations that often seemed to be levelled only at me.

“I’ve felt hunted and made out to be responsible for everything that ever took place around that show. But I was just the face of it.

“A hundred people lost their jobs that day, and I felt truly awful for them too and worried for their futures. But I felt completely alone,” he told The Sun.

A preliminary inquest hearing was told that Mr Dymond died of a morphine overdose and a heart problem at his home in Portsmouth, Hampshire.

He had “failed” a lie detector test for the programme to show whether he had cheated on his ex-fiancee Jane Callaghan, from Gosport.

Following the cancellation of the daytime show, MPs launched an inquiry into reality TV.

Earlier this year, Dame Carolyn McCall, chief executive of ITV, told the BBC’s The Media Show the broadcaster was “looking at” cancelling Kyle’s programme prior to it being pulled from the schedules.

She said there are no plans for Kyle to return to the broadcaster.