“Britain’s Got Talent” Winner Used a Stunt Dog. Viewers Are Outraged!


There’s a dog scandal across the pond. The English Office of Communications (otherwise known as OfCom) has announced that it’s launching an investigation into the most recent season of Britain’s Got Talent because it turns out the winning act used two dogs, not one.

This year’s winner was dog trainer Jules O’Dwyer with her Border Collie, Matisse. Their winning act was a charming routine with O’Dwyer dressed up as a police officer chasing a sausage-stealing Matisse. One of the most memorable parts of the act is when the dog walks across a tightrope to escape the cop.

O'Dwyer and Matisse in one of the early routines. (Screenshot from IFC broadcast)
O’Dwyer and Matisse in one of the early routines. (Screenshot from IFC broadcast)

However, it turns out that the dog walking the tightrope wasn’t Matisse. Instead, it was another dog named Chase, who acted as a stunt double.

The revelation actually came from O’Dwyer herself during a television interview just after the win. “Every dog has a different character. Matisse is a little bit afraid of heights, so although in fact he could physically do it, Chase is the one that says I’m the action dog. He plays the double for him,” she said.

Matisse -- or actually, Chase -- doing the tightrope walk on the winning episode.
Matisse — or actually, Chase — doing the tightrope walk on the winning episode. (Screenshot from IFC broadcast)

Neither the judges nor the audience knew that Chase was acting as a double. To nobody’s surprise, Simon Cowell has been especially outspoken on the matter. “I was frustrated because I didn’t really know what I was judging until afterwards so I felt like a bit of an idiot,” he told the Daily Mirror. However, he’s blamed the producers of the show, rather than O’Dwyer, for not making it clear that a second dog was being used in the act. “There’s a cloud over her and I want that cloud to go. I want people to feel proud of her and that she did well and she should be happy,” Cowell said. He also thinks that she should be allowed to keep the £250,000 ($389,131.25) prize.

(Screenshot from IFC broadcast)

Nevertheless, there has been a public backlash against O’Dwyer. OfCom received 1,150 complaints about the substitution.

The investigation will focus on whether the failure to announce the use of a stunt dog qualifies as fraud. Four and a half million people voted in the final episode of Britain’s Got Talent. Those who voted by telephone (instead of the program’s app) had to pay 50 pence for the privilege.

O’Dwyer and Matisse being interviewed backstage. (Screenshot from IFC broadcast)

O’Dwyer herself has expressed surprise at the sudden backlash. “I was disappointed when people said I allegedly hid Chase and I was trying to make it like Chase was Matisse,” she told the BBC “That’s not so.”

What do you think? Did the show scam its viewers, or is this just another tempest in a doggie dish? Video of the winning routine is below.

Via BBC, Daily Mail

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