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'It felt judgemental' - Norwich producer on forerunner shows to Jeremy Kyle tells of how the industry changed

PUBLISHED: 21:03 15 May 2019 | UPDATED: 08:10 16 May 2019

TV host Trisha Goddard pictured on her show Trisha from Anglia Television in Norwich, November 2004.
 Photo: Anglia Television

TV host Trisha Goddard pictured on her show Trisha from Anglia Television in Norwich, November 2004. Photo: Anglia Television

A producer on two chat shows that were made in Norwich and were forerunners for The Jeremy Kyle Show has said she quit while her integrity "was still intact".

The Jeremy Kyle Show has been cancelled. Was the decision too hasty?, a reader asks (C) ITVThe Jeremy Kyle Show has been cancelled. Was the decision too hasty?, a reader asks (C) ITV

The former TV producer worked on both Vanessa and Trisha, both shows were produced at the Anglia Television studios and featured frank and often controversial material as people told real-life stories and tackled a huge range of subjects.

She said: "When Vanessa came to Norwich with her show, it genuinely felt exciting, because it was such a new way of broadcasting. It was real people, telling real stories in their own words.

"No one had really seen anything like it and it was respectful. The topics that were tackled important and I feel as if shows like Vanessa did a lot towards the conversation about how we talk about our feelings. She helped make it okay for people to open up.

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"The topics that were tackled were important, like domestic violence, eating disorders and sexual abuse and I feel as if shows like Vanessa did a lot towards encouraging people to talk about difficult issues and emotions which had previously been silenced and hidden away.

"When Trisha's show began, she was equally adamant that she was there to tell people's stories and to actually help people. It certainly didn't start out as a show designed for people to watch and laugh at others: it wasn't cruel.

"Over time, it did change as people's expectations changed. At the end of the day, the broadcaster is always chasing ratings - there was a switch from producing television that helped people talk about issues to being a platform on which to put people who for whatever reason, couldn't make their lives work, it felt judgemental.

"I left while I still felt that my integrity was intact and that I was helping to make television programmes that were useful and fair. I couldn't have been part of The Jeremy Kyle Show - it's just not the kind of TV I'd want to be involved in.

Video grab of presenter Vanessa Feltz during her BBC show on Wednesday March 10, 1999 when a male streaker interrupted her programme. the Vanessa show moved to the BBC from ITV. Photo: BBCVideo grab of presenter Vanessa Feltz during her BBC show on Wednesday March 10, 1999 when a male streaker interrupted her programme. the Vanessa show moved to the BBC from ITV. Photo: BBC

"At the beginning, these shows were exciting, because they gave people who hadn't had a voice on television the chance to be part of something that before had been exclusively middle-class.

"But somewhere along the line, something went wrong. I just couldn't watch it. At the end of the day, these are people's lives - you need to respect that, always."

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