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Wednesday, March 3, 1999 Published at 03:19 GMT


Springer defends 'TV's silliest show'

Students chanted "Jerry, Jerry" as he arrived

Select a link below to watch the entire address:

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King of confessional TV Jerry Springer has compared Diana, Princess of Wales' experiences with those of his guests at a talk to Oxford University students.

In an address to the Oxford Union, broadcast exclusively live on BBC News Online on Tuesday, the talk show host used the example of Diana's 1995 Panorama TV interview to defend his controversial show.

Damian Grammaticas for BBC News 24: Springer defends his show
The 55-year-old, on a week-long tour of the UK, told students: "When she appeared on a programme two or three years ago, she talked about three of the most personal issues in her life.

"These were not being faithful, bulimia and suicide.

"There is no person on the planet who dared say 'Why was she talking about that?'

"My show is a crazy, crazy show, on which people talk about infidelity, suicide, disorders and dysfunctionalism.

"People say my guests are trash. They are not trash, they are human beings who are really upset about what's going on.

[ image: Jerry Springer is the king of talk TV]
Jerry Springer is the king of talk TV
"Just because they do not talk properly, have not been to Oxford and do not have qualifications, it doesn't mean they are trash."

He added: "My show is the silliest show on TV."

Springer's show - which has featured slots such as I Cut Off My Manhood and I Married A Horse - has been attacked on both sides of the Atlantic for being crude and exploitative.

It frequently features ill-tempered encounters between guests, often ending in violence.

But it has proved a ratings success.

With tongue in cheek, Springer told the 1,500-strong audience that his programme was broadcast in a desire for world peace.

"We have been dropping video tapes of the show on Iraq. They are not called smart bombs but dumb bombs," he said.

But he said he felt there was a lot of elitism involved in criticism of his show.

Fake guests 'make no sense'

Asked about the recent allegations of fake guests on British confessional talk shows, he said: "I don't think it makes any sense to have fake guests, simply because the show is much better when they are real."

"I think the magic of shows such as ours are that you sit there, scratch your head and say, `Gosh, I can't believe this is real'.

"I don't know why they would want to do that. Believe me, there are enough real stories in life to make shows."

He passionately defended his programme when asked if it exploited his guests.

He said he found his 10 years working in news journalism far more exploitative.

As he wound up an "awesome" evening, Springer was asked to give the Union a "final thought" - the personal message he gives to the camera at the end of all his programmes.

"My wish for all of you is that you never appear on my show," he said.

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