The Voice UK failed to hit the high notes of its 2012 debut - as Ant and Dec topped the Saturday night ratings charts.

The Voice UK (BBC1) 7pm-8.35pm
6.24m (26.87%)

BBC1’s blind singing contest returned with its four “coaches”, including Jessie J and Tom Jones, but viewers turned their backs on the spinning chairs.

The format, developed by Big Brother creator John de Mol and presented by Holly Willoughby and Reggie Yates, took to the mic with an average audience of almost 6.3m viewers – around 26% down on last year’s debut of 8.42m (37.61%).

As well as falling below its own standards, it dropped under BBC1’s slot average of 6.52m (29.65%) viewers for the past 12 months.

This was despite The Voice growing its audience substantially over the period it was on air, bowing out with a peak of 8.15m (35.14%) viewers in its final five minutes.

It led a BBC1 spokeswoman to describe it as a “great start” to the talent competition, which is co-produced by Wall to Wall.

Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway (ITV) 7pm-8.20pm
7.19m (30.93%)

The Voice was roundly beaten by the penultimate instalment of ITV’s entertainment bonanza, which pulled in its second biggest audience of the series as Simon Cowell pranked Piers Morgan.

The show, which has been recommissioned for a second series, peaked with an audience of 8.23m (33.83%) at 7.55pm, according to overnight Barb figures supplied by Attentional.

Even without its audience of 484k (2.15%) on ITV+1, Saturday Night Takeaway still topped The Voice by nearly 500k viewers. And during the period when the two shows overlapped, between 7pm and 8.20pm, Ant and Dec again secured victory.

Their show averaged 6.7m (28.85%) viewers over the 80-minute slot, while The Voice managed 5.93m (25.51%).

Doctor Who (BBC1) 6.15pm-7pm
6.18m (29.82%)

The sci-fi drama came back from its seventh series break with its lowest return audience since the franchise was rebooted in 2005.

It was below the previous low of 6.38m (29.3%) for the seventh series debut in September 2012.

Life’s Too Short Special (BBC2) 10pm-11pm
1.05m (6.02%)

The special instalment of Rick Gervais’ comedy just topped the channel’s slot average of 1m (4.82%) for the past 12 months. However, it was well under the first series opener of 2.38m (9.9%) in 2011.

Labyrinth (C4) 9pm-11.05pm
1.41m (7.45%)

The first part of C4’s imported Kate Mosse adaptation launched with an audience that fell below the station’s slot average of 1.36m (6.44%) for the past year.

NCIS (C5) 9.15pm-10.15pm
920k (4.51%)

The US drama was Channel 5’s best effort of the evening.