Warning: This article contains sensitive content.
Reality TV has always been a dangerous game. Ever since it took off in the UK, it has always been met with some sort of criticism. Big Brother and I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! are arguably the most notable ones, but this week it has been The Jeremy Kyle Show in the spotlight.
The reality talk show would see people come resolve disputes with family or friends, about issues such as cheating or theft. According to the BBC, the show had an average of one million viewers, and was one of British broadcaster ITV’s most popular daytime programmes.
However, this week the show was cancelled after 14 years, following the tragic death of Steve Dymond. The 62-year-old was found dead on 9th May, just a week after appearing on the show with a case of infidelity. He had undertaken the show’s infamous lie detector test, which he failed to his despair.
The Jeremy Kyle Show was a disgraceful excuse for entertainment, and it has finally met its deserved fate of being cancelled for good. However, I don’t believe that this is enough. ITV must now take further action and cancel one of its most popular programmes of recent times- Love Island.
Although Love Island was only brought back in 2015, its popularity has drastically risen over the last four years. The show consists of a group of people living in a villa together, who must ‘couple up’ to stay on the island. While it seems like a harmful concept, in reality it has proven to be deadly.
Two former contestants, Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Gradon, both committed suicide following appearances on the show, while the latter’s boyfriend Aaron Armstrong also took his own life following her death. These suicides alone show the flaws of Love Island and reality TV as a whole, as well as why it simply shouldn’t be allowed to exist.
While there is no problem with entertainment programmes, it becomes one in these extremities. Following those suicides, other contestants came out to condemn the lack of emotional and psychological support from the producers, which was certainly a factor to the suicides of Thalassitis and Gradon. Reality TV has a detrimental effect on someone’s emotional and physical state, and Love Island is the epitome of how they can ruin lives.
Love Island contestants also give one of the worst examples of body image. Every single man who goes on the show incredibly muscular and very tall, while all the women are extremely skinny and have ‘perfect’ bodies. They set the worst possible example, and with millions of viewers on national television it’s unhealthy and unacceptable.
It should not be possible for us to gain pleasure from these types of shows if they result in situations like these. Whether it is through a talk show or relationship-based shows, if these shows are driving people towards taking their own life then there is clearly something that has to be changed.
Reality TV is not healthy, nor is it a good thing. If all of these shows are not cancelled for good then the same tragedies will be repeated forever and ever. We need to act now- Love Island and other reality TV shows need to be taken off national television for good.