BBC1 boss Danny Cohen says The Voice will return ‘even stronger’ next year, as figures revealed it was BBC1’s most successful entertainment show launch in a decade.

The series – with celebrity coaches Sir Tom Jones, Danny O’Donoghue, Jessie J and – experienced a spectacular drop in viewers after its early stages, with the semi-final drawing just half the audience it had managed at its peak.

But the BBC said figures now showed the series pulled in an average of 9.2 million viewers – the best entertainment launch since research methods changed in 2001.

The show saw Leanne Mitchell triumph, landing a deal with music giant Universal, but a download version of her debut single failed to dent the top 40 at the weekend.

Cohen said The Voice chiefs would ‘learn’ from the experiences of the first series.

He said: “The Voice has broken all records for a new entertainment show on the BBC. There are also inevitably things you learn in the first series of a big new show, and we are confident that The Voice will return even stronger next year.”

He said he was proud of the contestants and the coaches, although it’s not clear who will return next year.

Including the Sunday night results shows, the series averaged 8.9 million viewers across the series.

The Voice bosses are now looking for potential contestants for the next series.