Why Do People Watch Jeremy Kyle?

I am introducing a new medium to my blog…this is my theme tune…the opening credits if you wish… Lucy Spraggan “Jeremy Kyle”

I am interested in the people that actually WATCH the show and what their reasons are for watching it.

I am not here to criticise Jeremy Kyle…many have already had this debate and written very well about it. The debate simply is whether Jeremy is helping “broken Britain” as he claims or is he exploiting those less fortunate than him. The Independent gave a good sum up which you can read here: Jeremy Kyle: Judge, jury and exploiter?  And The Guardian posted a very revealing confession from one of the TV show producers and ITV’s response to this…I shall let you read it and make up your own mind… Jeremy Kyle laid bare

Having researched a number of blogs and comments over the internet I see there is very little positive to say about the show, the people on it and Jeremy himself, yet he has a steady audience of 1.5 million per day. From what I gather from the very vocal public I have put together three categories that the PUBLIC think make up the Jeremy Kyle audience:

  1. The entertainment seekers – those who think people fighting and arguing is funny
  2. The stay at homers – those who have nothing else to do/work from home/students etc
  3. The Sadists – those who get pleasure out of seeing that other people’s lives are worse than their own.


Me? Well, I think it comes down to morbid curiosity, a trait we all share. Derren Brown’s recent experiment called The Game Show is an exploration into human behaviour when the audience members have control over another human’s life. The outcome shows that the audience members get pleasure out of the individuals suffering. It escalates to extreme levels including violence and heart break which also appear in the Jeremy Kyle show. You can watch Derren Brown here: The Game Show

Not all of us relieve our morbid curiosity the same way. Personally the show makes me lose faith in humanity and secretly pray the whole thing is staged. I have never been able to watch more than 5 minutes of the show.

So is the Jeremy Kyle show just offering people an outlet for this morbid curiosity? And if the show didn’t exist we would find another way? If so I could argue that the show is successful because it plays on natural human emotions. Does this rid Jeremy Kyle of any sense of guilt or responsibility? Does it relieve us as audience members of guilt and responsibility and is that why some people find it so easy to criticise the people on the show so harshly?

To my disbelief there is a Jeremy Kyle Forum where people discuss their favourite quotes from Jeremy himself. Most of them consist of him speaking to his guests in an offensive way. Not only do people watch the show but they actually spend their spare time copying and discussing his comments most of which promote and praise Jeremy’s taunting.

Some even take it further. I have listed a few tweets I found on Twitter:

“Where do they find the people who go on jeremy kyle! Do they just collect them outside job centres #scallys

Trying to eat and watch the Jeremy Kyle show is impossible #stinkers

People on Jeremy Kyle wonder why their partners cheat, have they actually seen themselves?

It’s beyond me how all these folk on Jeremy Kyle have ever slept with anyone never mind the 5 people who could be the father #munters #drama

Some girls need to learn how to close their legs once in a while #jeremykyle

If people are willing to go on social media and publically say nasty things about other people then they aren’t that different from the people who are going on TV to say nasty things about other people….it is as if they have no emotional connection to the people on TV. It seems that audience members use the show to release anger and have a guilt free excuse to judge other people.

Not all of the viewers are as vicious as these though I guess some people do watch it simply for the entertainment. Me? I’d rather release my morbid curiosity by watching a documentary on serial killers…

Maybe there is no hope for any of us.


Cue music

…fade in…Lucy Spraggan “Jeremy Kyle”


6 thoughts on “Why Do People Watch Jeremy Kyle?

  1. victoriamhobbs says:

    I’m writing my dissertation on how ‘The Jeremy Kyle show’ could be considered to be a modern day freak show… i think its scary how disconnected people feel to the guests on the show, its like as if they are not even classed as humanity. disgusting.

    • Izzy Maxwell Watts says:

      Hey! It is a great subject to talk about, I find it fascinating and disgusting at the same time. I think you are right there about how disconnected people are to the guests on the shows, why is that though? Do people like to believe that they are better than the people on the show and therefore have the right to judge and sneer? The behavior I have seen from the audience members is no better than the stories we see on there. Broken families and tragic lives. The whole this is depressing. Good luck writing your dissertation and if you can link me into it on here once you have finished it, I would love to read it!

  2. Simon says:

    Lacking intellectual thought. Same types that find football enjoyable and believe radio 4 to be boring when it has the most thoughtful conversation that is probably available. Philosophy would also be stated as dull but in reality would be incomprehensible. Turkey drummers and chips with tomato ketchup is for dinner or egg, chips and beans.

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  4. Lisa says:

    If people are having real issues and are vulnerable as well, such a show maybe damaging to them.

    Been on TV is possibly not a safe place to talk about issues you are having, the studio and TV audience may have their own prejudices and issues, so maybe not understanding. The advice given may not be suitable and there could be under lying issues that need addressing.

    If someone has real issues, they possibly need to talk to their doctor, or someone trained in some kind of counselling therapy, that can help bring change. Talking to my doctor and a trained counsellor, in a safe environment was the best thing I ever did when I was suffering from depression.

  5. j says:

    I dont watch Jeremy Kyle,i have not owned a television for over twelve years … by that analogy,i should not even known the program exists!
    However,i do … because despite moving around,the social stratas i encounter seem to just bang on about Jeremy Kyle,some cheap reality TV thing like Big Brother or Real Housewives of whatever .. or soap operas where they can have their imaginery friends so they dont have to make any effort to make ‘actual’ social contact … and thats the bite,i cant relate to anyone who watches these things,which is the large majority of people i encounter … at the same time,trying to find social contacts which differ from the norm,brings me into contact with people who have dinner parties,sip red wine and belittle those unwashed masses who watch Jermey Kyle,sniggering cynically and self-celebrating their superiority over the peasants … i cant relate to these people either.
    Analysing my history starting from the 1990’s … with agit punk bands critiquing the mindlessness of American TV … as Bill Hicks put it ‘Go to bed America … heres Gladiators … heres 56 channels of it … watch the pictorary retarts bash their skulls in … you are free … to do as we tell you!’ … later,i got with a partner,who liked Jerry Springer … and despite not enjoying the freak show aspects … i found a way in,by appreciating Mr Springer was a lawyer,Cincinnati mayor and reasonable psychologist,and occasionally he could spin it into a half illuminating summary … Mr Kyle simply doesnt have that,apart from he just reminds me of the kid at school,that used to do stuff and get other kids in trouble for it.
    Im sure there are worthy televised offerings … but i remember a time where only four channels existed … now there are hundreds,but the feedback from others it seems their veiwing variety is even less … which make the reward of getting a television and hitting the on button,seem pointless.
    This only intensifies my sense of isolation … but it preferable to join a society that seems to becoming increasingly elistist and sadistic.
    Thanks for making this post … it doesnt really answer the question … but at least it has made me aware other people are asking it.
    Hell in a handcart .. for all of us … im afraid o_0

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