Reigning champion Jules O’Dwyer and her performing dog act return to Britain’s Got Talent tonight, appearing under the slightly altered name: Jules, Matisse and Friends.
Last year they scooped the top prize as Jules O’Dwyer and Matisse, but came under fire after it was revealed another dog, Chase, had been used for a tightrope trick in their final winning performance.
The swap was only revealed by O’Dwyer the next morning during an interview on Lorraine, prompting a viewer outcry and 1,175 complaints to Ofcom.
O’Dwyer explained at the time: “Matisse is a little bit afraid of heights so, although he could physically do it, Chase is the dog who says ‘I’m the action dog’. He plays the double for him.”
The regulator investigated the complaints and ruled that the previously unexplained switch “not only had the potential to mislead but was likely to have done so”.
The ruling did not carry a fine, but the show was found to have breached rule 2.14, which relates to misleading viewers, for a variety of reasons. This included the fact that the name of the act didn’t reference the use of other dogs – the design of the set making the exit and entrance of the two dogs seem to be that of only Matisse – and the fact that Chase didn’t stand alongside the rest of the act at the conclusion of the performance.
“The contribution of the third dog Chase was not disclosed explicitly to viewers during the [final],” the regulator explained.
Ofcom concluded: “Taking all of these factors into account, we considered that, although the Licensee may not have intended to deceive viewers, the presentation of the act ‘Jules O’Dwyer & Matisse’ not only had the potential to mislead, but was likely to have done so.” Those who had paid to vote for the act, which saw off competition from runner-up magician Jamie Raven, were offered a refund by ITV.
BGT boss Simon Cowell admitted at the time that the whole thing could have been avoided if the act had simply been named Jules, Matisse and Friends.
So, here they are – Jules and all of her poochy pals, back on the BGT stage tonight to do what they do best: entertain.
While we wait to see what kind of pickle the dogs get into this time, here’s a reminder of their performances from last year:
Their first audition:
Their semi-final performance:
And that final showcase:
See Britain’s Got Talent tonight at 7:30pm on ITV – results follow at 9:30pm