ITV's BGT dog switch scandal breaks Ofcom rules but the broadcaster promises refunds for miffed phone voters
Britain’s Got Talent has been found in breach of the Ofcom code following a controversial dog switch in this year’s winning act, Jules O'Dwyer and Matisse.
The owner and dog duo stole the hearts of the nation with a cops and robbers themed act. However, Mattise the dog was switched out for another Border Collie capable of performing the choreography, a move found to mislead viewers.
An Ofcom spokesperson said: “After a detailed investigation, we found ITV broke broadcasting rules by misleading viewers during the series finale.
“We accepted ITV had no intention to deceive the audience. However, the presentation of the act did not make clear to viewers that a central part was performed by a second dog.
In particular, the deception in line with the show’s over-the-phone voting system, irked the watchdog.
It added: “Broadcasters inviting viewers to vote using premium rate numbers have a particular responsibility to ensure the audience is clear about what they are voting for. By failing to do so, we’ve concluded the presentation of the act was likely to have materially misled some people.”
ITV issued a statement in response: “The BGT production team apologised at the time for not making it clearer to the judges and viewers at home that three dogs were involved in the final performance. There was never any intention to mislead viewers.”
The broadcaster stressed that “the majority of votes (almost 90 per cent) cast for Jules’ act were received through the free voting app”.
However, in an act of remediation, those who voted in the final are entitled to a refund or have the cost donated to the Royal Variety charity via this microsite.
Or check out the controversial slot below.