The near scheduling clash between Channel 4’s Great British Bake Off and BBC Two’s The Big Family Cooking Showdown would not have been the first time big television shows have wrestled for audience share.
:: The first time the BBC’s The Voice UK and ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent did battle was in March 2012. The opening episode of the first series of The Voice overlapped by 20 minutes with an edition of Britain’s Got Talent – and beat the competition comfortably. Almost nine million viewers chose to watch The Voice while around 6.5 million opted for Britain’s Got Talent.
When the overall ratings for both programmes were calculated, however, ITV ended up the victor. A total of 11.6 million had watched Britain’s Got Talent, compared with 9.44 million for The Voice.
:: When The Voice returned the following year, its first episode went up against another of ITV’s big beasts: Ant And Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway. Once again, the BBC lost out. The Voice got 7.5 million viewers while Ant and Dec attracted 8.3 million.
The Voice UK then moved to ITV in 2016 after the BBC decided not to enter a bidding war for another series after airing the programme since 2012.
:: The BBC has had more success pitting Strictly Come Dancing against The X Factor. When the two shows first went properly head to head in 2015, the BBC was triumphant. On Saturday October 24, during the short period in which the programmes overlapped, The X Factor was watched by 5.6 million compared with Strictly’s 10.1 million.
The full ratings for both shows confirmed the BBC’s success, with The X Factor getting 8.2 million versus Strictly’s 10.5 million.
:: When talent shows came back into fashion in the early Noughties, ITV’s strongest hit was Pop Idol. The final of the first series was broadcast on Saturday February 9 2002, and an impressive 12.5 million people tuned in to see Will Young beat Gareth Gates.
Perhaps fearing a ratings wipeout, the BBC did not even try to compete. Instead it chose to show the film Enemy Of The State, which ended up pulling in 6.3 million viewers.
:: Later in 2002 the BBC launched its own talent show: Fame Academy. But it did not prove as popular as Pop Idol and the final won just 7.8 million viewers when it was shown on Friday December 13.
The BBC kept the series off Saturday nights, which was being dominated by ITV’s Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? and Popstars: The Rivals. On the night of the Fame Academy final, ITV showed the film Speed 2: Cruise Control, which got a respectable 6.3 million viewers.