After months of speculation the BBC has confirmed that the fifth series of The Voice UK will be the last on BBC One.
In a statement released today (7 November), Mark Linsey, Acting Director of BBC Television, confirmed that the show has been poached by a rival broadcaster. Although he did not cite which, it is widely believed to be ITV.
“The BBC is incredibly proud of The Voice, but the fifth series which starts in January will be our last. We always said we wouldn’t get into a bidding war or pay inflated prices to keep the show, and it’s testament to how the BBC has built the programme up – and established it into a mainstay of the Saturday night schedule – that another broadcaster has poached it.” – Mark Linsey
Speculation on The Voice UK‘s future began earlier this year after ITV acquired Talpa, the company who own the rights and co-produce the show with Wall to Wall. The Mirror claims that the BBC could not match what ITV was offering from 2017, although an ITV source told the tabloid that it had matched what the Beeb had previously paid for the rights – a reported £12 million. The new deal with ITV, yet to be officially confirmed by the broadcaster, is said to include the kids version of The Voice. The children’s series has proved popular in a number of countries, most notably in Germany.
The Voice UK, now hosted by Emma Willis and Marvin Humes (previously Holly Willoughby and Reggie Yates), first aired on BBC One in the Spring of 2012. The show became an instant hit, mainly due to its ‘Blind Auditions’ format where contestants are judged on voice alone. This part of the show routinely attracts up to 9m viewers. However viewership tends to decrease for later rounds of the competition.
The show has come under criticism for not being distinctive enough from ITV rival The X Factor particularly its live shows. Despite the winner receiving £100,000 and a record contract, no winner thus far has matched the success achieved by singers who have won rival shows. The show’s latest winner, Stevie McCrorie, reached number six in the UK singles chart with his winner’s single ‘Lost Stars’.
The new series of the singing competition is currently recording and will be on screen in January. Ricky Wilson and will.i.am are reprising their roles as coaches alongside Paloma Faith and music legend Boy George.
Sir Tom Jones hit out at the BBC after being told he was axed just one day before his departure and replacement were announced. Sir Tom, who had been with the show since it launched, revealed he had pencilled room in his diary for the fifth series. Boy George will be taking Sir Tom’s seat, but some fans aren’t happy at the way Tom was dropped from the show with threats to boycott the new series.