Celebrity Jeremy Kyle: ‘It’s not a hatchet job, I want to understand what these celebs have been through’

Jeremy Kyle talks to TV Times magazine about the new afternoon celebrity version of his controversial morning show, Celebrity Jeremy Kyle (ITV, Monday, June 9), and why the stars choose to open up to him…

Do you think these celebrity episodes of The Jeremy Kyle Show are that different from your morning programme?
“No. Just because you’re on television, you’re in music, you’re an actress, you’re a socialite – it doesn’t mean you don’t go through the same difficulties. Every day on the show we do real people and real problems. We talk about addiction, relationships, parenting and illness and at the end of the day, although the problems that Michael Barrymore and Shaun Ryder had might have been written about in newspapers, they’re actually no different.”

How does your approach and presenting style change for these celebrity specials?
“It is an extension of the main show, but is it a different way of doing it? Most definitely. I’m not standing there and being asked an opinion, I’m trawling through people’s lives and asking them to face up to what they’ve done and the impact that’s had on them and people around them.”

Why do you think celebrities are happy to come on and talk to you about their lives?
“We’ve done enough of these celebrity interviews to prove this isn’t a hatchet job. I think they all realised very quickly that we weren’t there to hang them out to dry. Instead, it’s an attempt for them to put their own slant, voice, facts, on stuff that’s been reported in the papers. That’s how I see it, really. I don’t want a headline, I want people to actually get into these people’s lives and understand what they’ve been through.”

Michael Barrymore is your first guest…
“He was probably the biggest entertainer of his decade by a mile. In the early 90s, nearly 25 years ago, this guy was getting 20 million people watching Strike it Lucky on a Saturday night. But he had well-documented problems with drink and drugs. And then he came out, and his marriage ended and then there was the situation in 2001 at his house. But he was very candid. I don’t think there’s ever been an interview like that with Michael.”

Why do you think these celebrity specials will make for good viewing?
“There were certainly a couple of uncomfortable questions for Shaun Ryder and Michael Barrymore. And I think that’s important, because it’s not just a case of an hour of going ‘I’m sorry you’ve had problems, you’re great!’ And I’m not doing it so that somebody can promote a DVD or a fitness video.”

Would you be interested in fronting his own primetime chat show?
“Do I hope one day to do that on Saturday nights? Maybe. But Piers Morgan’s doing a fantastic job with Life Stories. And that’s a great show. This is just an afternoon chat show, with celebrities, and it’s an extension of The Jeremy Kyle Show. So I just look forward to it going out, and I hope people enjoy it.”

Who do you admire when it comes to talk show hosts?
“Michael Parkinson is my hero. He would have a guest on and he would strip them down and it wasn’t about promoting something, it was “We want to know about your life”. For me, these celebrity specials are really back to basics. And when I mention Parkinson, I mean that with huge respect. It’s two chairs and a bottle of water and it’s in depth.”