The Voice UK has enjoyed some of its highest ratings to date as Kylie Minogue and Ricky Wilson made their debut on the panel.

According to overnight figures the first round of blind auditions pulled in a massive 8.4m viewers between 7pm and 8.30pm on Saturday – 2.1m more than tuned in to the equivalent show in 2013.

And the peak rating for the show was even more impressive, soaring to 10.6m viewers as the early stages of the competition got underway.

The new series could well have benefitted from the BBC’s decision to move it to January, out of the way of rival shows such as Britain’s Got Talent.

The previous two series of the show struggled in the ratings against the ITV giant, leading to the BBC to move it to a later timeslot last year.

By contrast, ITV’s Splash! – which was screened at exactly the same time – suffered a slide in ratings to 3.2m.

The show – which saw Boyzone’s Keith Duffy, TV presenters Anna Williamson and Paul Ross, pop star Toyah Willcox and rugby ace Martin Offiah take to the diving board – lost over 1m viewers from last Saturday night’s opening round.

Previous series of The Voice UK have fared well in the opening few weeks, with viewers drawn to the ‘blind auditions’ format.

However audiences have dropped once the contest reaches its later battle round and knockout stages.