The executive producer of the recently suspended Jeremy Kyle Show was unable to say how accurate the lie detector tests were that were conducted on the programme.
Having contestants take part in lie detector tests has been a key component of the programme’s format since the ITV talk show was launched in 2005.
But when questioned by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee about the authenticity of the tests during a parliamentary inquiry into reality TV, Tom McLennan, the show’s executive producer, could only say that the tests were “not 100 per cent accurate”.
According to Mr McLennan, individuals who were featured on The Jeremy Kyle Show were clearly informed that the results of lie detector tests may not always be reliable.
However, the television producer could not provide the members of the select committee with a percentage range of the accuracy of said tests, an admission which Damian Collins MP, chair of the committee, said was “irresponsible” and “astonishing”.
Mr McLennan stated that “practitioners” of lie detector tests say they have a “high level of accuracy” that is not always guaranteed.
“I’m not a lie detector expert,” he added, explaining that the accuracy of lie detector tests is “disputed” among experts.
During the parliamentary inquiry, Mr Collins cited research which has found that lie detector tests may only be accurate in approximately two-thirds of cases.
Jo Stevens, a Labour MP and member of the committee, questioned how participants of The Jeremy Kyle Show could give their “informed consent” to take part in lie detector tests if they’re unaware of their accuracy.
Julian Bellamy, managing director of ITV Studios, and Graham Stanier, director of aftercare on The Jeremy Kyle Show, were also in attendance during the parliamentary inquiry.
Both echoed Mr McLennan’s statement that the lie detector tests are “not 100 per cent accurate”, with neither able to provide more detailed figures.
According to the American Psychological Association, those who take part in lie detector tests should “remain sceptical about any conclusion wrung from a polygraph”.
A polygraph is a device that measures factors such as an individual’s blood pressure and heart rate in order to determine whether they’re answering questions truthfully.
Earlier this year, it was announced that The Jeremy Kyle Show had been suspended indefinitely following the death of Steve Dymond, who had been a guest on the show.
Shortly afterwards, Dymond’s son Carl Woolley claimed his father had said that “Kyle really laid into me”, telling The Daily Mail: “Presumably that was at the point when they announced the lie detector result.”
A statement released by ITV said the studio and The Jeremy Kyle Show were “shocked and saddened” at the news of Dymond’s death.
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