Prof Smith, a professor of language and culture at the University of Sunderland, said the presenters were considered to be entertaining at the time but their approach amounted to bullying.“It was the power they had to tell people what to wear. It was a game where there was resistance from the contributor, but resistance was futile. It was always legitimised as being ‘for your own good’.“But participants were told they couldn’t wear clothes they were comfortable in, they could only wear clothes that Trinny and Susannah said they could wear,” Prof Smith said.“Those makeover programmes eventually morphed into dating programmes, with that element of humiliation and other forms of confrontation.”The report mentioned the aggression and confrontation evident in Gordon Ramsay’s shows, including Kitchen Nightmares, and The Apprentice, where candidates are frequently engaged in slanging matches and Lord Sugar conducts his boardroom showdowns. With their straight-talking advice on how to look fabulous, Trinny and Susannah styled themselves as fashion’s fairy godmothers.But academics have identified What Not To Wear, the makeover show presented by Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine, as a programme that began the “rise of rudeness” in television which reached its nadir with Jeremy Kyle.It features on a list that includes The Apprentice and Come Dine With Me, all helping British television to become “a sphere of anger, humiliation, dispute and upset”.The research, by university academics Angela Smith and Michael Higgins, has been submitted to MPs conducting a reality television inquiry sparked by the death of a participant on The Jeremy Kyle Show.The authors suggested that Kyle’s aggressive treatment of show participants was part of a wider shift. Each week, Woodall and Constantine would make over a contributor, first making her gaze into a 360 degree mirror wearing her own clothes and pointing out how unflattering they were.They used a sample episode to support their thesis, which Woodall told a woman that in her usual outfit “you look like you’ve just crawled out of bed”.Constantine said of the woman’s coat: “Do you know what? If I’m going to be completely frank, which I will be, you look like a hunchback in that.” Show more The Apprentice is also cited as one of the programmes which helped make television rudeCredit:Jim Marks/BBC Their study, Belligerent Broadcasting, traced the roots of aggressive television back to the 1960s and “the gradual disappearance of deference in political interviewing”.In the 1990s, The Jerry Springer Show was aired on British TV and set a template for the likes of Kyle as a confrontational host.But the authors of the report found that the “retreat of civility” in homegrown programmes spread beyond politics and talk shows with the arrival of What Not To Wear in 2001. But Prof Smith also singled out Come Dine With Me, with its jokey voiceover “framing everything as a potentially belligerent environment, managing to create a sense of disharmony or conflict – we can see the same thing done on Love Island.”Top Gear also contributed to today’s aggressive television, she argued, as Jeremy Clarkson’s “banter” with fellow presenters exemplified “a certain form of masculine, laddish culture” that has been copied by comedy panel shows.In their submissions to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee, which has heard evidence from the makers of The Jeremy Kyle Show, the academics said: “We found that there had been a rise in not only the frequency but also the range of programmes where conflict talk arises.As one genre of broadcast fell from favour, others adopted the frame of belligerence, each time amending it slightly to mark itself as ‘new’ but always with an underlying sense of interpersonal conflict and risk of humiliation.”They recommended that producers edit programmes to minimise the focus on conflict and should take into account the mental health of participants. The committee will deliver its findings later in the year.Woodall told The Sunday Telegraph: “I’m having lunch… really, I don’t have a comment.” Constantine was contacted for comment. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.