Britain's Got Talent should have made sure viewers knew Jules O'Dwyer used stunt double dog not Matisse, says ITV’s Director of Television

More than 200 viewers have complained to communications watchdog Ofcom following the revelation

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The Independent Culture

Peter Fincham, ITV’s Director of Television, has admitted that Britain’s Got Talent should have made it clearer that champion Jules O'Dwyer used a stunt double dog for her winning sketch.

More than 200 viewers have complained to communications watchdog Ofcom following the revelation. The show’s producers have apologised for not making it clearer to viewers - as well as the judges - that a lookalike dog was used to walk the parallel ropes.

Mr Fincham told campaign group the Voice of the Listener and Viewer that the way the act was presented was “a judgment call”.

He said: “In the semi-final it was made quite clear the other dog played a role in it. In the audition it was made quite clear this was a dog act with a range of dogs. In hindsight, in the final it would have been better if that was clear.”

An Ofcom spokesman said it had received 206 complaints by the afternoon of 2 June, which will be assessed before a decision is taken on whether to investigate.

O'Dwyer said she was “shocked and surprised” by viewers' reaction. The guide dog trainer, who beat Welsh choir Cor Glanaethwy and magician Jamie Raven to the £250,000 prize with a sketch involving a tightrope and stolen sausages, said she did not use Matisse because he did not like heights.

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Peter Fincham, ITV’s Director of Television (Teri Pengilley)

She said: “I was disappointed when people said I allegedly hid Chase and I was trying to make it like Chase was Matisse. That's not so.”

She continued: “I introduced Chase in the semi-final, and I said Chase is Matisse's best mate. Why put the pressure on the dog when I already have another dog who can perform it on television?”

The sketch, which starred O'Dwyer as a policewoman going after "sausage thief" Matisse, also featured another of her pets, three-legged Skippy.

O'Dwyer added: “I know my dogs, and I know what they are comfortable with. I'm not hiding anything. Skippy was a secret - I wanted to keep him a secret because that was the emotional factor and we hadn't introduced him before.”

There was no sign of Chase, who had previously appeared in the semi-final, when O'Dwyer and Matisse took to the stage to be congratulated on their win by the judges and hosts Ant and Dec.

Their prize includes a spot at this year's Royal Variety Performance.

More than 13 million viewers watched O'Dwyer and Matisse become the second dog act to win Britain's Got Talent, following Ashleigh Butler and Pudsey in 2012, in the highest rating final since that year.

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