'The Voice UK' Narrowly Beats 'The Greatest Dancer' In First Round Of 'Ratings Battle'

Not quite the news Simon Cowell was hoping for.

Much has been made in the media of the supposed ratings battle between the series debut of ‘The Voice UK’ on ITV and the launch of ‘The Greatest Dancer’ on BBC One, but newly-released figures have shown that it was the former that pulled in the most viewers.

Both shows debuted on Saturday night, in the same 8pm timeslot, with 5.3 million people watching the new series of ‘The Voice UK’, which once again saw Olly Murs on the panel alongside long-serving coaches Sir Tom Jones, will.i.am and Jennifer Hudson.

This means they narrowly beat their supposed BBC rivals, with ‘The Greatest Dancer’ pulling in 4.6 million for its series debut.

The coaches on this series of 'The Voice'
The coaches on this series of 'The Voice'

However, it should be pointed out these early figures don’t include viewers watching on catch-up services BBC iPlayer or the ITV Hub.

‘The Greatest Dancer’ marks the first time a show from Simon Cowell’s Syco production company has aired on the BBC, and sees Cheryl Tweedy returning to TV as a dance captain, alongside ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ pro Oti Mabuse and former ‘Glee’ actor Matthew Morrison.

This time around, though, it’s the audience who hold all the power in the early stages of the competition, with those watching from their seats voting on whether or not the hopefuls get through to the next round of the competition.

Oti, Matthew and Cheryl of 'The Greatest Dancer'
Oti, Matthew and Cheryl of 'The Greatest Dancer'
BBC Pictures

In our HuffPost Verdict of the new show, Ash Percival wrote: “If you only tuned into the first five minutes of The Greatest Dancer, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was another textbook Syco production.

There are dramatic opening montages, glam shots of the judges, films of nervous contestants getting ready at home, sped-up shots auditoriums filling up, ‘Gogglebox’-style audience commentary and a predictable selection of music overlays. However, when you stick with it, you quickly realise it’s fresher than any similar shows that have been on TV in at least the last five years.”

Both ‘The Voice UK’ and ‘The Greatest Dancer’ will return on Saturday night, again going head to head at 8pm.

Jermain Jackman

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