British TV lags behind US, says Springer

The American chat-show host Jerry Springer has accused British television of lagging 10 years behind its US counterpart.

Springer, whose confessional talk shows are famous for guests swearing and throwing chairs at one another, praised the quality of documentary-making in the UK, but said that British television has some catching up to do.

He told Radio Times: "What you do great are your documentaries. You still do TV with a stiff upper lip and when you do that it's excellent, the best there is."

Springer, 61, who was born in London but moved to New York at the age of five, added: "The rest of your stuff is 10 years behind American television. That's not a criticism - it's just newer to you here. Your talk shows are like ours were 10 years ago; they plod along. It could be radio. Virtually all your live programmes could be on radio."

Springer has been in the UK filming a series of chat shows for ITV1, which has signed him up for a month in the morning slot left vacant by the talk show presenter Trisha Goddard, who joined channel Five.

ITV says that Springer's new show will not be filled with swearing and fighting, but will include DNA tests for babies whose parentage is disputed, making emotional scenes difficult to avoid. Springer said: "The rule on my TV show is you have to be able to watch it with the sound off. If you still kinda know what's going on, that's compelling."

The Jerry Springer Show, launched in the US in 1991, is watched by 25 million Americans and syndicated to 40 countries.

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