BRITAIN’S Got Talent returned to ITV with more than 10 million viewers, eclipsing its BBC1 Saturday night rival, The Voice.
The Simon Cowell show was back on ITV for its seventh series with a line-up that included a shadow theatre troupe from Hungary, teenage cerebral palsy sufferer Jack Carroll, who wowed judges with a stand-up act and a woman who lapdanced Simon Cowell in a chair.
Britain’s Got Talent was watched by 10.5 million viewers, a 41.5 per cent share of the audience, between 7pm and 8:35pm on Saturday.
It was nearly 4 million viewers ahead of BBC1’s The Voice, which was watched by 6.7 million viewers, a 26.8 per cent share of the audience, between 6:45pm and 8:15pm.
The two shows have a bitter rivalry, with The Voice briefly beating Britain’s Got Talent with its first series last year.
Britain’s Got Talent was up on last year, when it started with 9.9 million – and narrowly short of its best-ever audience for a launch show, the 10.6 million viewers (44 per cent) who watched the fourth series begin in 2010.
The BBC said that the audience for The Voice was its highest of the series so far – last night’s episode was the third of the new series.
But it will face tough competition from Cowell after Britain’s Got Talent, which traditionally airs at 8pm, was moved an hour earlier in the schedules for its latest series to go head to head with The Voice.
The BBC subsequently moved The Voice 15 minutes earlier, to 6:45pm.