MPs blast Jeremy Kyle bosses for not establishing accuracy of lie detector tests

MPs today blasted ITV bosses for not establishing the exact accuracy of lie detector tests used in The Jeremy Kyle Show.

The Digital, Culture Media and Sport Select Committee are meeting today, with MPs planning to look into the axed Jeremy Kyle Show despite the host's refusal to appear .

The probe into reality TV shows was launched after the suicide of Jeremy Kyle guest Steve Dymond, who died days after failing a lie detector test while trying to prove he didn't cheat on his fiancee.

The show was immediately pulled off the air and subsequently cancelled , but ITV bosses said they'd continue to work with Kyle on other projects.

A clip from some lie detector test results being handed out on the programme was shown to the committee before they began their discussions.

The show recorded over 3,000 episodes and the lie detector test has been a feature since the beginning of the show.

Tom McLennan, executive producer of the Jeremy Kyle Show, told the committee: "We have always made it clear to audiences and participants that the lie detector is not 100% accurate."

Chairman of the DMCS Committee, Damian Collins MP, said experts say the tests are only around 66% accurate.

A professor has said the test is only accurate two times out of three.

Mr McLennan stressed that those taking part in a test were told it was not accurate.

But Mr Collins said host Jeremy presented the results as "black and white" and that it had caused "considerable amounts of stress" to people.

He pressed Mr McLennan on the research he had done to decipher how accurate the tests are, and found it unacceptable that they hadn't looked into it further given that it's become one of the most controversial aspects of the show.

Mr McLennan was called "irresponsible" for not finding out the range of accuracy despite being "responsible" for the show.

He defended himself by saying he's "not a lie detector expert".

Mr Collins said he didn't feel that the accuracy of the tests was portrayed properly to people taking part in one, despite how big an impact it can have on their lives.

Graham Stanier, Director of Aftercare for the show, was asked how many people requiring aftercare had needed it because of the lie detector.

He said: "We explain it differently, what we would say prior to the show is that some people would fail the test but that what they'd said was true."

Mr Collins asked if people were sat down and told that the test could be wrong a third of the time if they become distressed.

Mr Stanier said he was always aware of that the test was not accurate, but that he didn't know the figures.

Mr Collins said: "So you're the director of aftercare on this programme and you're not aware of figures of how accurate this test is?"

Mr Stanier said he keeps people "informed" that the test may not be accurate before and after, but Mr Collins said the results were presented as "definitive" on the show, and that Mr Stanier does not even know the "range of accuracy".

Jo Stevens MP Labour, Cardiff Central, then quizzed Mr McLennan further about the use of lie detector tests.

The ITV boss said: "I've been around lie detectors in my professional career for the last 15 years so I know there are different opinions."

Ms Stevens asked: "What's the range?"

Mr McLennan said: "This is why we make it clear to the contributors and the viewers that it isn't completely accurate."

Ms Stevens was unimpressed by his answer, and said: "If you were going into hospital to have an operation and the doctor told you, 'This isn't 100% successful', would you sit there and wonder how accurate it is or would you just accept it?"

She added: "You can't just say it's not 100% accurate because that could be 1% or 99%, how can they make an informed decision?"

Mr McLennan was then asked: "Why do you use something so flawed as a premise for the show and why do you not tell people how flawed it is?

He said: "We use different tools, we use DNA testing, we put people in rehab to try and help them with drug and alcohol abuse, we use a range of different things and the lie detector is one of them. We made it very clear that it wasn't 100% accurate."

MPs said if it wasn't for the lie detector test they wouldn't be sat there today.

When asked about it, McLennan said he could not recall a case of someone who failed a lie detector test later proving that they'd been telling the truth.

Kyle , 53, could face sanctions for refusing to appear before MPs.

But committee chair Mr Collins said: "We believe that Jeremy Kyle himself should be an important witness to [our inquiry] as the show is based around him as the lead presenter of it.

"We have sent an invitation to Mr Kyle through his representatives.

"And we have received word back from them that he has declined to appear in front of the committee on Tuesday next week."

He later added: "We will be pursuing this matter with his representatives to fully understand the reasons why he has declined.

"We’ll start our inquiry by questioning the leaders of ITV."

The people due to give evidence today are Julian Bellamy, Managing Director of ITV Studios, Tom McLennan, Director of Entertainment of North ITV Studios and Executive Producer of The Jeremy Kyle Show, and Graham Stanier, Director of Aftercare at The Jeremy Kyle Show.

Dame Carolyn McCall, Chief Executive, Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chairman, and Chris Wissun, Director of Content Compliance, ITV plc, were also due to appear.

Questions were expected to focus on the duty of care exercised towards participants.

The session was also due to consider wider issues facing reality TV shows, such as ITV’s Love Island, including what support is offered during and after filming, and how procedures are monitored.

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