TV WATCHDOG Ofcom could ban lie detectors from all reality shows, as the regulator’s chief executive told MPs that there are “alarm bells” over Love Island.
The ITV2 dating programme has come under renewed scrutiny following the suicides of former contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis after The Jeremy Kyle Show was axed last week when guest Steve Dymond took his own life just days after appearing on the show.
Now Ofcom exec Sharon White has spoken to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee of MPs about the future of reality TV.
She explained: “We will be looking at lie detectors and other tools used by the production companies, as to whether it’s fair treatment for vulnerable individuals.”
White also addressed the aftercare in place for reality TV contestants, adding: “As well as the most recent tragedy with Steve Dymond, alarm bells were particularly rung with two suicides, Love Island, some months after the broadcasts.
“What happens after transmission at the moment, there is a window between filming and transmission where there is advice on the media and social media and going often from being a private person to suddenly being cast into a media world.
“I guess my question which I am asking my team is to think about whether that needs to be extended somewhat after transmission, so it is that sort of regime guidance we are thinking for reality shows and factual programmes.”
The fifth season of Love Island is set to hit our screens on June 3rd, facing backlash after Sophie took her life last June, two years after appearing on the show.
In March of this year, Mike became the second former Islander to take his life after appearing on the third season of Love Island.
The Sun Online previously revealed the show’s beefed up aftercare in light of the tragic deaths, with a spokesman for the programme detailing the extensive support system that is in place amid the fresh concerns.
Meanwhile, The Sun Online was the first to reveal that Love Island’s infamous lie detector task was in jeopardy following the Jeremy Kyle death controversy.
Each series the ITV2 show features a hugely popular episode which sees the contestants wired up to a polygraph while answering probing questions from the person they are coupled up with.
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Following 63-year-old Steve Dymond’s death, a TV spokesperson told us: “The lie detector episode is everyone’s favourite but it does cause some serious arguments between couples.
“Love Island is already under scrutiny following the tragic deaths of two past contestants so producers will be keen to avoid any further issues.
“Some viewers are calling for the show to be axed so it looks likely they’ll get rid of the lie detector to keep people happy.”
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