Former workers on the controversial ITV Jeremy Kyle Show have revealed dark behind-the-scenes secrets about the now banned programme.
They have told a Channel 4 documentary about the tactics used to heighten a guest’s distress – just to entertain viewers.
Drug addicts were told they were in competition with other users for a single place in a rehabilitation unit.
In reality, there was enough space for all.
And one guest – a “shy, quiet girl” was turned into a “fireball” moments before the show went on air.
One participant, Steve Dymond, killed himself after being on the show in May 2019.
Mr Dymond took a fatal overdose after “failing” a lie-detector test on the programme.
The Jeremy Kyle Show was taken off air by ITV.
Now, a Channel 4 documentary, is set to expose what happened off-stage.
A former show worker told Channel 4:
“I felt like I had blood on my hands.
“We felt like we had killed someone.”
“The number of secrets we kept was frightening.
“If I was found to be speaking out it would be career suicide.
“It is scary to go against ITV – a massive corporation when I am just me.”
Ex-staff also spoke of the deliberate tactics used to squeeze the most extreme behaviour from show guests.
One said: “They would love seeing a girl turn up, you know shy, quiet, scraggly and you would be put with that girl all day and you would turn her into this fireball.”
Former staff said they were put under huge pressure to book guests, no matter how unsuitable.
One said: “Everybody was exploited, without even knowing it, and if you went along with it you were fine and if you didn’t you were sacked.”
Another said: “We were like rats in a lab, each in our little cages in there.
“You never left your desk sometimes, 14, 15 hours at that desk”
The documentary will tell how Kyle behaved on set.
One said: “Jeremy was incredibly nasty, really just demeaning.”
Another said: “He would make comments to us about the guests, insinuating that they were thick or that they were scruffs.
“This is quite disturbing because you have the sense that he didn’t care about these people – and if you don’t care about them, you shouldn’t be doing that job.”
The documentary quotes one a former employee.
He said: “To him [Kyle] people are just things.
“They’re objects that he can exploit.
“He takes from them the little good they have had in their lives.
“If there was someone who had mental health issues, he didn’t care and he would rip into them.”
Senior Tory MP Damian Collins said he believed ITV bosses were aware of the situation.
He added: “People at the top of the company should have asked more questions.
“It’s impossible to believe that no-one within the company raised concerns about this.”
In a statement ITV said:
“More than 20,000 people took part in the show seeking help to resolve relationship issues, or to address drug or alcohol related problems… and the show achieved many positive outcomes.
“The show had a dedicated guest welfare team of mental healthcare professionals.
“Guests were supported prior to filming, throughout filming and after filming.
“ITV does not accept the central allegation of this programme of a ‘bad culture’ within the production team.
“ITV would never condone any of its production staff misleading or lying to guests.”
Channel 4 said: “Jeremy Kyle was approached for a response.
“He did not provide a statement for broadcast.
“We will reflect his position in the film.”