'Britain's Got Talent' was mired in controversy yesterday after it was revealed the winning act, performing dog Matisse, did not walk the tightrope and used a stunt double instead.
Jules O'Dwyer and Matisse took to the stage to be congratulated by the judges and hosts Ant and Dec after beating Welsh choir Cor Glanaethwy and magician Jamie Raven to the £250,000 prize. Yesterday, Ms O'Dwyer, who trains guide dogs, admitted on ITV's 'Lorraine' show that it was another dog - Chase - who walked the tightrope because Matisse is not keen on heights.
The sketch featured O'Dwyer dressed as a policewoman and going after Matisse, who had stolen sausages from a butcher, and also featured another of her pets, three-legged Skippy.
Viewers saw Matisse emerge back on to the stage after he appeared to have walked along parallel ropes, but it turned out that a second border collie had performed that part of the stunt.
Ms O'Dwyer 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. Every dog has a different character."
She added: "The tightrope takes months of training. It takes a special rigging system. It takes professionals to help you.
"BGT were fabulous. Our team said what we needed to pull this off."
Ms O'Dwyer, who had had no sleep since her win, said of her dogs: "They're really chilled. They're very balanced and very happy.
"My only concerns are always my dogs. Are they happy? Are they content with working?
"It's a circus for a dog ... I was just focused on the dogs until the routine was done, then I relaxed.
"For them it's just a series of one or two different actions that you build on slowly."
She said that her win - which also includes a spot at this year's Royal Variety Performance - would bring her financial security. (© Daily Telegraph, London)