Simon Cowell has revealed that he returned to the Britain’s Got Talent panel after learning The Voice was coming to the UK – amid fears that the show would not survive without him.

Speaking to The Sun, the 52-year-old said that he summoned his entire production team to the US for a meeting as soon as he heard the BBC’s plans.

“Knowing that was on the horizon, I got all of our team over to America last year,” he said. “I said ‘we’re in a completely different place, this show has got to be the greatest series ever produced’.”

And he added that it had been a ‘wake-up call’ similar to when 2009’s X Factor winner Joe McElderry was denied the Christmas No 1 by rockers Rage Against The Machine.

“If someone beats or competes you’ve got to work better,” he said. “And in a funny way the viewers benefit. I thought I’d make a difference because I was in the mood to do it.”

Both The Voice and Britain’s Got Talent began on Saturday night, following weeks of rivalry between the two for Saturday night ratings supremacy.

The first week of auditions on BGT saw the likes of operatic duo Charlotte and Jonathan and Welsh choir Only Boys Aloud make it through to the next stage.