Over-60s call for ‘garbage’ reality TV shows to be scrapped amid safety fears

Reality TV shows are aired right around the world. (Stock image). Source: Getty.

From cooking and lifestyle to romance and personal heartbreaks, reality TV shows are known for airing people’s best, worst and most emotional moments for all the world to see.

But recently stars of the popular shows have begun to hit back after being thrown into the limelight over a short period of time, claiming they’re not receiving enough support once the programs come to an end.

Just days ago, UK TV program The Jeremy Kyle Show – which invites warring guests to come on stage and undertake anything from lie detectors to DNA tests to solve family grievances – was axed after 14 years following the sudden death of a guest, who had appeared on the show just days before and failed a lie detector test.

It sparked an outcry from stars of other shows, including programs airing in Australia, who claim their appearances on TV have impacted their mental health – with little support available for them after they leave.

Now over-60s have spoken out, with many claiming the shows need to be scrapped altogether amid fears they could be negatively impacting young people, as well as portraying a false sense of reality.

Starts at 60 invited readers to respond to a poll on the issue, asking whether reality shows should be axed for good. The majority (77 per cent) of respondents insisted they should be stopped altogether, while 19 per cent said that while some reality shows are worth keeping, all stars should be offered more support when they finish.

In comparison, just 4 percent of respondents voted for reality shows to continue as they are.

“I no longer watch as I was appalled at what they are teaching the young people of today. Life is NOT like that & they set a very bad example,” one reader commented, while another added: “They do not serve any purpose.”

Another reader said they enjoy watching Masterchef, but described all the others as “garbage” and one wrote: “Refuse to watch, most are supporters of abuse, violence and immorality.”

Meanwhile, one reader got a lot of support as he pointed out: “In my humble opinion, there is no such thing as a ‘reality’ TV show! They are pretty well ALL scripted – they HAVE to be, it would be like watching paint dry otherwise, and I’m convinced I have seen more than one of the participants appearing as actors in other programs.”

Just days ago, former Married At First Sight contestant Clare Verrall – who appeared on series two of the Aussie show in 2016 – hit out at “bullying” producers and claimed the show can have a dangerous impact on some stars, including herself.

“I didn’t sign up to be bullied to the point where I want to kill myself,” she told Channel 7’s Sunday Night program. “I didn’t sign up to have no support. I didn’t sign up to have my life completely ripped to shreds.”

Verrall claimed she tried to end her own life twice after appearing on the show and added that it often felt like “torture”, saying on Sunday Night: “You get to the point where you’re so tired and you’re so broken and you just want to stop, that you will say whatever they feed you… They set us up into a situation to fail.”

It’s not the only program to be slammed by stars. UK TV hit Love Island has come under fire in recent months following the tragic suicides of two former stars. Sophie Gradon passed away last June, just nine months before Mike Thalassitis also ended his own life.

Read more: TV crisis or changing times? Veteran actors debate impact of reality TV

Now, following The Jeremy Kyle Show‘s axing, the UK’s entertainment and media trade union announced it would enter talks with broadcast industry chiefs to ensure they’re doing more to improve mental health and support for guests and staff.

“Broadcast industry members, including TV and production staff, have put forward a motion following recent events in the TV industry around Jeremy Kyle and Love Island,” Philippa Childs, the head of Bectu (Broadcasting, Entertainment, Communications and Theatre Union), told The Guardian.

She added to the news outlet: “It is much easier to take preventative measures than to put a plaster on things when the effects of stress take hold. It is also a question of maintaining dignity at work for everyone who contributes to TV and radio programmes.”

What do you think? Should reality TV shows be axed? Do you think they pose a danger for stars?

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