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Never Mind Your Daughter, Don't Put Your Doggy on the Stage

05/06/2015 12:48 BST | Updated 04/06/2016 10:59 BST

The nation has been sold a pup. More precisely, it's been sold a fully grown Border Collie called Matisse, who as it turned out wasn't Matisse, after all. At least not when the viewing public most wanted him to be. Namely that moment when he supposedly walked across a tightrope. Only he didn't.

As has now been widely reported in the press, Matisse was at the time backstage painting a rather unconvincing copy of Woman with a Hat (currently yours for £126 on ebay) by his lesser known French namesake. Meanwhile, the death defying, high wire hound was in fact none other than Chase. Who's Chase? If like an arthritic greyhound, you're finding it hard to keep up, it's hardly surprising.

All you need to know is that Britain's Got Talent's head honcho has been left with egg on his face. No bad thing, you might be saying to yourself. Besides, he must be used to it since getting pelted by violinist, Natalie Holt during the final back in 2013.

Anyway, we're apparently up in arms about the whole deception. We feel cheated and misled and we want our money back. And perhaps we'd be entitled to it if only we hadn't voted for free via the BGT app.

The hoodwinking is the equivalent of discovering that Shakespeare's plays weren't written by the Bard himself, but instead were penned by a dim and distant relative of Jackie Collins. This may go some way to explaining the slightly incongruous presence of Lucky Santangelo in Titus Andronicus.

It's enough to have us questioning how many other canine cover ups could possibly be out there, waiting to finally come to light.

Was Toto really Toto? Scooby Doo really Scooby Doo? Benji really Benji? Lassie really Lassie? Sorry to shatter any illusions, but over the years Lassie has been played by a total of nine different dogs. While an incredible 22 yellow Labradors took the role of Marley for the 2008 comedy drama. And Uggie had two stunt doubles, Dash and Dude, for the The Artist. As for Snoopy. Well, you don't even want to know. One time in 1976 when producers were particularly desperate as he'd gone off with his bitches for a long weekend in Vegas, they had to get Jeanette Krankie to dress up as him. Fortunately, no one could tell the difference. All the same, when you listen to his barking from September of that year, it definitely has a Scottish twang to it.

Of course, this scandal may all seem like a lot of fuss over nothing. Especially as no one complains when a famous actor or TV personality has a stand in to make them look braver or more attractive. Indeed, Amanda Holden's breast double for those lingering cleavage shots has almost passed without comment or mention.

However, realising what a controlling ring master Cowell is (I don't wish to start any conspiracy theories here), you could be forgiven for thinking that this has his paw prints all over it. Despite his protestations that he knew nothing and that he is as shocked and upset as anyone else by the turn of events, it wouldn't come as a huge revelation to find out he'd known which dog was which all along. No wonder Matisse is probably a nervous quivering wreck. If there's a Priory for pooches, the chances are that he is already in it.

So what though. Provided the publicity garners a few more column inches for the great impresario and increases interest in his so called talent extravaganzas, that's what matters most. OK, he professes to care about those dumb harmless creatures who can't look after themselves and could, if they fall into the wrong hands, be subjected to intolerable cruelty. But is this truly the case? Look, for instance, how in the past he's treated Sam Bailey, Leon Jackson and Steve Brookstein. Never mind poor Sinitta.

Forget about whether Jules O'Dwyer should be stripped of the title and be made to return the prize money (a better idea would be if she gave the entire £250,000 to the RSPCA) or if she should continue to be allowed to perform at the Royal Variety Performance. Surely the bigger question is whether she should have been allowed to appear in the first place and if dogs should ever be seen as a source of entertainment - something to be gawped at in-between a never ending stream of hip hop dance troops and singers?

Yes, dogs are funny. Left to their own devices, they can be quite hysterical. Hundreds of thousands of You Tube clips are testament to that. But the relentless training, day in, day out to turn man's best friend into nothing short of a fluffy Bonnie Langford is plain wrong.

If you happen to be a mutt and you're reading this, the lesson is no matter how many treats you may be promised, always remember the old showbiz adage: never work with children (they'll only upstage you) or Simon Cowell.

Mind you, what are the odds that when the X Factor rolls around later this year, the Boys, Girls, Groups and Over-25s will have been joined by the Dogs in a novel twist to boost ratings?

I wonder who'll end up mentoring this category? The smart money has got to be on brand new judge, Pitbull.