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MPs blast Ofcom for ‘failing’ to crack down on reality shows after deaths of Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Gradon

'TOO LATE'

A probe was finally launched after the death of Jeremy Kyle guest Steve Dymond

THE boss of TV watchdog Ofcom was yesterday accused of failing to crack down on reality shows after the suicides of two Love Island contestants.

Sharon White admitted the tragic deaths of Mike Thalassitis, 26, and Sophie Gradon, 32, had “rung alarm bells” for the telly regulator.

But Ofcom did not launch a probe until reality TV was rocked by the overdose of Jeremy Kyle contestant Steve Dymond earlier this month.

Meanwhile, it was revealed ITV has begged for more time to deliver its report into Mr Dymond’s death.
The culture select committee demanded to know why Ofcom did not act sooner.

Tory MP Rebecca Pow said: “We have actually had some deaths from these programmes. It has been going on some time.

“Have you not come a bit late?”

Tory MP and committee boss Damian Collins warned the set-up of reality TV shows puts contestants under “extreme pressure”.

Ms White insisted Ofcom had launched investigations into specific complaints into reality shows.

She said: “So no I don’t think we are too late.”

She added: “We have been particularly concerned about what has happened to contents after [the show is aired] — particularly after the recent tragedy with Steve Dymond.

“Alarm bells were particularly rung with the two suicides of Love Island after the broadcast.”

She admitted reality TV shows like Celebrity Big Brother and Love Island have sparked thousands of complaints from viewers alarmed at the treatment of contestants.

Ofcom is looking at how it can ensure aftercare is beefed up to help contestants cope with the pressure of finding fame overnight.

The watchdog is considering ordering telly bosses give reality TV contestants the same protection as under 18s.

The culture select committee has launched its own investigation into reality TV after the shocking deaths.

YOU'RE NOT ALONE

EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.

It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society - from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.

It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.

And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.

Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.

That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.

The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.

Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others... You're Not Alone.

If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:

Mike Thalassitis has died: Love Island star found dead aged 26

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