Use of ‘dog­gie dou­ble’ in tal­ent show causes up­roar in the United King­dom

The China Post - - LIFE - BY GRE­GORY KATZ

Pro­duc­ers and TV ex­ec­u­tives have apol­o­gized for fail­ing to in­form view­ers ahead of time that a dog trainer who won the sea­son-end­ing fi­nale of the highly rated “Bri­tain’s Got Tal­ent” com­pe­ti­tion used a “dog­gie dou­ble” to per­form a risky trick.

The guide dog trainer, Jules O’Dwyer, was the view­ers’ choice, pock­et­ing a 250,000-pound (US$383,000) prize for her ef­forts. But view­ers weren’t told that the bor­der col­lie Matisse was re­placed by a looka­like dog, named Chase, for a tightrope-walk­ing se­quence dur­ing the fiveminute rou­tine in Sun­day night’s live fi­nal.

In ear­lier weeks of the com­pe­ti­tion, she had in­tro­duced view­ers to both dogs, and ex­ec­u­tives said they thought view­ers un­der­stood she was us­ing a team of dogs, not just one, for her hu­mor­ous rou­tines.

ITV chief Peter Fin­cham said that “in hind­sight” it should have been made more ev­i­dent to view­ers that more than one dog was be­ing used in the fi­nals, which drew an au­di­ence of more than 13 mil­lion.

Pro­duc­ers also apol­o­gized for not mak­ing it more ev­i­dent that Matisse didn’t per­form the en­tire rou­tine.

O’Dwyer said she was “shocked and sur­prised” by the out­cry. She said she used Chase for the tightrope-walk­ing se­quence be­cause Matisse is afraid of heights.

The act is billed “Jules O’Dwyer and Matisse.”

O’Dwyer tri­umphed over a Welsh choir and a ma­gi­cian in the com­pe­ti­tion, which al­lows view­ers to choose the win­ner via tele­phone calls and text mes­sages.

Some said on Twit­ter they would have voted dif­fer­ently if they knew two dogs had been used.

Broad­cast reg­u­la­tor OF­COM said more than 200 com­plaints have been re­ceived. No de­ci­sion has been made on whether a for­mal in­ves­ti­ga­tion will be launched.


In this May 26 file photo, Jules O’Dwyer walks with her dogs in­clud­ing Matisse, out­side Foun­tain Stu­dios in Wem­b­ley, north Lon­don.

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