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British media regulator Ofcom said Monday that it will investigate the Simon Cowell talent show Britain’s Got Talent over a controversy about a stunt-double dog used in the most recent season’s finale.
The team’s final act saw the dog balance cones on its head, jump around on its hind legs and perform a tightrope walk, prompting a standing ovation from the judges, including Cowell. The dog and its trainer drew 22.6 percent of the public’s vote, 2 percentage points ahead of magician Jamie Raven, to win the ITV show and its $383,000 prize.
The following morning, O’Dwyer said that a stunt dog named Chase performed the tightrope walk, saying that Matisse was “a little bit afraid of heights.” That led to viewer complaints, and producers apologized for “not making it clearer” that Matisse had been replaced for part of the act.
The BBC reported earlier this month that the number of viewer complaints to Ofcom had exceeded the 1,000 mark. The watchdog said the complaints would be assessed before a decision whether to investigate.
Ofcom on Monday listed the May 31 season finale of BGT under an updated list of “investigations launched under the procedures for investigating breaches of content standards for television and radio.” It emphasized that “an investigation by Ofcom does not necessarily mean the broadcaster has done anything wrong.”
The season finale’s ratings rose from a low last year.