Jeremy Kyle talks about the new series of The Kyle Files which begins on Tuesday, January 5th at 7.30pm on itv.
Why did you pick the topics featured in the series - gun crime, the Internet, food, drugs, benefits?
I learned something from last series - the legal highs programme was massively important to me as a parent with kids, and I was quite chuffed we did things that people wanted to be aware about. This time, guns are at the forefront of people’s minds, a lot of people have concerns about the Internet, and I was i ntrigued by everything that’s been written about Dark Justice and paedophile chasing. In terms of benefits, austerity means that many genuinely decent people who can’t work struggle to survive, and there is an increasing number of people who are taking the Mickey out of the system. To be told that food fraud in the United Kingdom is reportedly worth £11 billion intrigued me and it was a fascinating thing to look into. We take a different angle on drugs to most investigations. With Magaluf, we wanted to go back and see what had changed. We want to tackle things that would matter to parents, to families - they are all big issues. It’s a really different mindset to the Jeremy Kyle Show, because one day you’ll be in Bury talking to people about benefits and the next day you’ll be in Cornwall speaking to somebody about drug dealing, doorstepping people.
What had the most impact on you and what have you learned making this series?
You sit in your lounge and you see things about gun crime and certain authori ties say it doesn’t exist. We were in Manchester during a spate of shootings and were on scene within 15 minutes. There were massive great holes in people’s doors and windows of their houses, and a kid died having been shot when they were just driving home . I think going out and seeing that really brought the impact of gun crime home to me.
How did you approach the confrontational parts of your reports? Was there anything that made you apprehensive?
There was a moment in Magaluf when our car was surroun ded by the police after we got thrown out of a club, which made me a little apprehensive. What was quite interesting, whether they reacted or kicked off or didn’t respond, was that I got this sense of trying to create some justice for people who have been wronged. For me there are two points to The Kyle Files. One is to highlight issues that matter to people and the other is to try to effect some change, and to show people that maybe that’s not the way they should act. You meet characters who live on the edge of the law, like Dark Justice, and some who operate on the wrong side of the law, like a hitman, in this series.
Which ones gave you the biggest insight into their world?
I found the Dark Justice guys fascinating. People will say about undercover paedophile finders that they are not helping the police, that they are vigilantes and I probably had a mindset like that going into the programme. These are two guys from Newcastle who do an awful lot of work, give their dossiers to the police, and then go and sting them and record it, and they’ve achieved some convictions in the couple of years they’ve been doing it. As a parent, some will disagree with me and think they are vigilantes, but I think that’s absolutely stunningly brilliant. The hitman, who was also a gun supplier, how can you give any credit to somebody who sells weapons that can kill somebody? It’s utterly disgusting. It says a lot about the bloke that the interview had to take place at 1.30am with a scarf over his face. A drug dealer we followed was selling them in broad daylight and he didn’t like it when I confronted him. He tried a sob story, ‘I don’t have a family.’ Well go and do a proper job, we live in a civilised society. There are a lot of people doing things that are wrong, and if we can highlight that then we’re doing well.
You return to Magaluf in this series, where you were pepper sprayed. Was that an easy decision?
I wanted to know why Leon [the bouncer], bless him, gassed me. He did apologise and admitted he had been wrong. While I was there I met a worker from a hotel where a girl fell off a balcony. She had been there two hours, got drunk, fell off the balcony - dead. I came away from that thinking of telling my kids, ‘If any of you think you’re going out there when you’re 16 or 17, you’ve got another think coming.’ “The series is thought - provoking. It’s very easy to do a series that is just talking heads and not very inspiring. We humanise these issues and highlight them so people know about them.
The series focuses on the welfare of families and on bad influences on young people. Do you think from what you have found that parents should be concerned?
I think parents should always be concerned about their kids. I don’t want to upset anybody but when you have kids I think that it is the only thing you should be. For example the Internet - I didn’t know enough about that as a parent. I didn’t know enough about food, or Magaluf, or benefits. I think it’s easy to say, ‘You should do more,’ or accuse pe ople of being bad parents who aren’t going to achieve much, but if people watch this series there are things they will be able to pick up and understand that will hopefully stand them in better stead.