week 11

2.What effects do you think that reality television has on society when programmes such as the Jeremy Kyle Show are labelled as ‘tabloid trash’ and docu-soaps such as Benefits Street are called ‘poverty porn’?

Since the popularization of reality TV, it has been pursued by the public and brought great influence to the society. The programs range from crime, celebrity, dating and love shows to extreme body modification of characters and families, which causes great debates in the society. These influences include creating fake events like misleading editors, participants’ behavioral guidance, advance stories, staged scenes, etc. The affection also contains manipulating winners, insulting or exploiting exploitation participants, making stars out of the less talented, and glorifying vulgarity and materialism (Reality TV, 2019). In addition, reality TV presents rudeness, conflict and criminal behavior to the society, and negative emotions related to this have become the main content of reality TV (Lorenzo-Dus & Garces-Conejos Blitvich, 2013). As a tv-watching culture, audience have become increasingly obsessed with instant gratification. These negative factors mislead the public, affect the participants in some cases, and even lead to social class antagonism (Slade, Narro & Buchanan, 2014).

Jeremy Kyle Show is an example of Reality TV in the UK. Which is hosted by Jeremy Kyle, it premiered on the ITV network on July 4, 2005 and ran for 16 consecutive series until it was cancelled on May 10, 2019. The show is based on opposites, in which participants try to solve important problems in their lives with others. These problems are often related to family relationships, romantic relationships, sex, drugs and alcohol (Hawthorn, 2007). Jeremy Kyle Show puts participants in confrontational situations, often verbally criticizing participants he considers morally questionable or irresponsible and emphasizing the importance of traditional family values. The participants often showed strong emotions, such as anger and distress. The lie detectors are often used on shows to determine whether a person is lying (The Jeremy Kyle Show, 2019). Jeremy Kyle Show‘s popularity has sparked controversy and been labeled tabloid trash. Its cynicism, lack of taste and exploitation of vulnerable participants have drawn criticism from leading newspaper columnists (Lorenzo-Dus & Garces-Conejos Blitvich, 2013). That kind of denigration didn’t help the participants, and it even worked the other way around for Steve Dymond, 63, who worked on an episode of Jeremy Kyle. The episode was filmed a week before his death after he took the show’s lie detector test, which determined he had cheated on his partner, and was later suspected of killing himself (The Jeremy Kyle Show, 2019).

Benefits Street is another example of Reality TV in the UK. It first aired on January 6th in 2014 and aired five episodes. The program follows life in several neighborhoods of James Turner Street in Birmingham, England, where 90% of residents are on welfare. It also shows crimes committed by welfare recipients, including shoplifting. It also depicts people relying on welfare payments without the incentive to seek work (The Jeremy Kyle Show, 2019).

Benefits Street is called poverty porn. It records the daily life of the unemployed urban poor live in the slum and some of the crimes of the poor which makes the audience have obvious on social insecurity in Birmingham James Turner in the Street, as much as 90% of people out of work, rely on the government’s fiscal support this situation brings negative factor of people depend on and lazy at the same time can also cause the public to society all poor misunderstanding, think over the Street represents the social all poor, poor that cause social class antagonism. Those who identified themselves as being on the center-right side of the political spectrum pointed their hatred and anger at the residents of James Turner, who throughout the broadcast were regularly compared to animals on twitter, with many threatening to kill and abuse them (Lamb, 2016).


Hawthorn, S. (2007). Why do we watch all these vile shows. Retrieved October 27, 2019, from: https://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/1741046.why-do-we-watch-all-these-vile-shows/

Lamb, B. (2016). Cathy Come Off Benefits: A comparative ideological analysis of Cathy Come Home and Benefits Street. Journalism and Discourse Studies. Retrieved from: https://blackboard.aut.ac.nz/bbcswebdav/pid-4929988-dt-content-rid-10599612_4/institution/Papers/ENGL602/Publish/Cathy%20Come%20Off%20Benefits_%20A%20comparative%20ideological%20analysis%20of%20Cathy%20Come%20Home%20and%20Benefits%20Street%281%29.pdf

Lorenzo-Dus, N., & Garcés-Conejos Blitvich, P. (2013). Real talk : reality television and discourse analysis in action. Palgrave Macmillan. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.aut.ac.nz/login.aspx?direct=true&db=cat05020a&AN=aut.b16087239&site=eds-live

Reality television. (2019). Retrieved October 27, 2019, from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reality_television

Slade, A. F., Narro, A. J., & Buchanan, B. P. (2014). Reality television : oddities of culture. Lexington Books. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.aut.ac.nz/login.aspx?direct=true&db=cat05020a&AN=aut.b13605938&site=eds-live

The Jeremy Kyle Show. (2019). Retrieved October 27, 2019, from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jeremy_Kyle_Show

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