Jeremy Kyle, as it kindly points out in a little graphic in the right-hand corner of the screen, is ten years old. It’s the latest incarnation of the type of discussion show that had its roots in the Oprah Winfrey Show. On Oprah, viewers would discuss their problems with Oprah. If this involved some conflict, both sides would be brought together. The audience would participate in this by offering advice. After the show, compromise would have been found. Fast forward thirty years through Ricki Lake, Vanessa, Jerry Springer, Trisha and now we have Jeremy Kyle.
Jeremy Kyle was once described by a judge as public bear baiting. He’s not far off. Yet it’s everyone’s guilty pleasure. As the name suggests, the show revolves around Jeremy Kyle. He invites people onto his stage and they spill forth their problems. The problems broadly fall into four categories:
- A suspected infidelity, stolen item or any other matter that can be resolved using a lie detector. However, the lie detector is only eighty per cent accurate and provides a yes / no answer but doesn’t explain why. We are told this by a tickertape message that zooms past, just before Jeremy reads the results.
- DNA results to determine the parentage of children whatever the age.
- People with addictions. I struggle with this type of conflict. Everyone involved are in so much pain. Having Jeremy wading in and mouthing off doesn’t seem to help either party.
- Inspirational stories involving overcoming the odds of some kind. Jeremy’s approach to these stories is so toe curlingly cringey, I have yet to sit through a whole episode.
The lynch pin that holds all this madness together is Jeremy’s right hand man, Graham. Graham, or St Graham I think he should be, is the head of the “after care team”. I suspect that Graham IS the aftercare team. Graham is the voice of reason. Graham makes sense. Graham has a plan. Graham offers resolution. Most of the previous incarnates of Jeremy Kyle offered resolution to the problems aired. Even Jerry Springer had Jerry’s Final Word, where Jerry tried to make sense of the madness that had gone on in the previous hour. Graham’s presence is the Jeremy Kyle equivalent. Yet none of the problems really get resolved. Quite often Graham is sat there, staring blankly into the camera.
Two weeks later and I was back in the eye clinic. It seemed a very smooth operation. I checked in at the reception. After about five minute a nurse shouted my name and took me into a room. In there a basic eye test was performed and notes were made. The nurse took me to another waiting room with a large TV screen mounted on the wall. A plaque informed us sick people that it had been donated by some company or other. How considerate. The waiting room was a hive of activity with consultants running about, collecting files and shouting names.
After about ten minutes, my name was called. Mrs T was the same consultant I saw before. She didn’t look happy.
“Come, come and sit here.”
I obeyed and sat in front of the strange eye examining contraption.
“OK. Put your chin here and we’ll see how it is…”
After five minutes of tutting, sighing, huffing and puffing a decision was made.
“Unfortunately, the ulcer has got larger. You need surgery right away.”
Crikey. The next minute Mrs T was punching numbers in a phone.
“Lauren? Can you fit someone in for tomorrow? 1:15pm. Thanks.”
She gave my name, number and hung up.
“OK. You will be having eye surgery tomorrow afternoon. We need to sew half your eye lid up to allow it to clean itself. This will get rid of the ulcer. Is that OK?”
“Urm… yes.” I said while trying to remember if this would conflict with anything.
Oh God. We were going to see the Super Furry Animals tomorrow night! I had booked tickets months ago, as they were one of the few groups that both myself and my husband like. Oh, hang on. That wasn’t until 7ish. Hopefully it’ll be done by then.
“Yes. Tomorrow afternoon is fine.”
“Great. You need to go to the Day-care Eye Surgery which is on the third-floor tomorrow afternoon. Show them this when you get there.”
She handed me a handwritten note with my name, the time and the date of the operation. I nodded and left the room with my mind whirling.
The next day I was back in ENT making my way to the third floor. The lift door opened and I was greeting by an organised looking reception area containing various lost soul, who couldn’t really see. I checked in and was soon called through by a nurse. Two days before I had treated myself to a new pair of Doc Marten boots. I used to love my pair when I was younger. I needed a new a pair so I thought what the heck. Now they were giving me serious jip. I hobbled into the consulting room to join the nurse.
We went through the pre-flight checks as I call them. No, I’m not diabetic. I’m not allergic to anything as far as I know, that kind of thing. When we had finished, she noticed the hobbling.
“Are you OK?”
“Yes, it’s just these new boots I bought a couple of days ago. They are killing me!”
The nurse examined my boots.
“Ah yes. I got a pair of those. It took two months to breaking them in.”
Two months! I smiled and was duly plonked on a chair outside.
While I was fiddling with my phone, I noticed that I was at the start of a weird production line. In front of me was another waiting room. At the end of the waiting room was a set of double doors. People were going through the double doors, but none were returning. Gulp.
There were more nurses, more pre-flight checks and now my turn had come to go through the double doors. Accompanying me was a very jolly Scottish anaesthetist. So far during this whole medical saga, the jolliest people I have encountered have been anaesthetist. With the first one I joked with her about Green Wing. The second one looked like Matt Berry from Toast of London so much, that I struggled to take him seriously. This chap seemed to be skipping with me along to the theatre.
We reached his domain and I lay down on the trolley in front of him. We did even more pre-flight checks. He explained that he would be giving me local anaesthetic next to my left eye and that it would sting a little. I nodded. While he was getting all the meds ready, the conversation moved to chit chat.
“So, do you have any plans for later?”
“Well we’re due to see the Super Furry Animals at Rock City tonight…”
“Super Furry Animals! Och I remember them! What did they do now?”
Between us neither of us could think of a single song that the Super Furry Animals sang. Shocking.
“There was that other Welsh group…” he said while unwrapping syringes. “Gorky’s?”
“Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci?”
“Of course! They were mega too…”
Our reminiscing of mid 1990’s Welsh bands was rudely interrupted by a petite woman tutting. She was wearing scrubs so I presumed that she must be the surgeon.
“Mrs Read?” she said looking up from a clipboard.
Yet more pre-flight checks. I noticed a change in the anaesthetist. Gone was the jokey manner and a more professional edge appeared in his demeanour.
The moment had come to the anathestic. Fortunately, as I have no feeling in the left side of my face, I didn’t feel the stinging. Still I gripped onto the anaesthetist’s hand, just for the hell of it.
I was wheeled into the theatre for the operation. It lasted for about half an hour. It was one of the strangest experiences that I have had throughout all of this. And I have had some strange experiences. The surgeon was very professional. Things were said between the surgeon and the nurses that I had no idea what they were on about. It was all gobbledegook.
Amidst all this I became aware of music. Yes, definitely music. Hang on isn’t that Rod Stewart? Someone had a radio on. It was playing “If You Think I’m Sexy” by Sir Rod. Never has there been a most inappropriate song at a more inappropriate moment. Rod had just reached his climax when the surgeon asked me,
“So, any plans for the weekend?”
“I’m going to a concert, to see the Super Furry Animals.”