Britain’s Got Talent champion Jules O’Dwyer has said she is 'shocked and surprised' by the public’s reaction to her revelation that she used a stunt double dog for her winning sketch.
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, told ITV’s Lorraine show that another border collie – Chase – walked the parallel ropes in their act, because Matisse is not keen on heights.
Annoyed fans expressed their irritation on Twitter, saying that another dog had performed the trick which won them the show.
— angie kane (@AngieAngierav69) June 1, 2015
Love #BGT so I don't want to tweet this, but I have to say I am disappointed by Jules & Matisse and the Stunt Dog escapade !
— Ashley Stebbings (@ashleyst78) June 1, 2015
Jules said: “I was surprised, I was shocked because I’m thinking ‘Why?’ I spent so much time creating this lovely story – I wanted to make it exciting for the people watching. I wanted that ‘wow’ nail-biting element (where they’re at) the edge of their seat, I wanted people to laugh so I wanted the comedy and the humour and then I wanted that ‘awww’.
“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. Chase does the trick very well, Matisse prefers it lower, but he’s never been at that height. I have a choice: I have a dog that can do it at that height, or I have a dog I’d have to push in three days to achieve this.
“Why put the pressure on the dog, when I already have another dog who can perform it on television?”
Jules and Matisse in the final (ITV/PA)
The sketch, which starred Jules as a policewoman going after 'sausage thief' Matisse, also featured another of her pets, three-legged Skippy.
Jules 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.”
The dog trainer, originally from Blackpool but who now lives in Belgium, previously said: “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.”
She also revealed that Matisse is enjoying the spotlight since they triumphed in the ITV show. Their win includes a spot at this year’s Royal Variety Performance.
Jules O’Dwyer and Matisse (ITV)
“We can’t walk anywhere without the dog seeing somebody and sitting by him, (almost to say), ‘Selfie?’,” she said. “But the dogs’ welfare comes first. I won’t let them be mobbed by 100 kids on one street. We do protect them, it’s got to be realistic.”
Jules, who has had no sleep since her win, continued: “The dogs had some special treats. Ant and Dec gave them some new toys – they might have broken a couple of them as they were over-enthusiastic. They got a lot of toys and gifts from the crew members.”
Ashleigh and Pudsey won BGT in 2012 (John Stillwell/PA)
More than 13 million viewers watched Jules 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.
Jules admitted winning was a shock, saying: “I never thought I could win it. I was naive. Just being in the last three was enough of an achievement already.”
Outraged viewers claimed to be 'misled' over Matisse on the tightrope stunt.
A spokesman for the producers of Britain’s Got Talent said: “The audience had previously seen from Jules’s semi-final routine that she works with a second dog Chase alongside Matisse. For the final performance, as Jules has said publicly herself, Chase completed the tight-rope walking section of the act.
“During the competition viewers have seen that Jules’s act involves a team of dogs, including Chase and Skippy, alongside starring dog Matisse, to perform her unique mixture of dog agility and story-telling. We are sorry if this was not made clearer to the judges and viewers at home during their final performance.”
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