'The Voice UK,' 'Top Gear' Return Drive BBC Ratings

Kylie Minogue has joined the BBC's "The Voice UK" as a coach on season three.

The British public broadcaster's flagship channel has its best day of the year in terms of audience share this weekend, but new drama "The Musketeers" loses viewers.

LONDON – Audience gains for The Voice UK on Saturday night helped boost British public broadcaster BBC to its best day of 2014 in terms of viewer share.

The third season of The Voice UK has continued to record strong ratings, with critics crediting the addition of Kylie Minogue as a coach this year.

The singing competition on Saturday drew an average audience of 8.5 million viewers, giving the BBC a 36.6 percent audience share. On the previous Saturday, the show had attracted an average of 7.89 million viewers.

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Overall, Saturday was BBC One's best in terms of audience share this year. Its all-day share hit 28.4 percent, while ITV had its weakest day of the year with 9.8 percent, according to ratings consultancy Attentional.

The season-two finale of Scandinavian crime drama The Bridge on BBC Four also drew strong ratings on Saturday. An average of 1.12 million people, a season high for the show, watched the first part of a two-episode finale Saturday. The final episode reached 985,000.

On Sunday, BBC Two hit show Top Gear returned for its latest season with an average audience of 5.33 million. That marked its best season debut since 2011.

Period drama Call the Midwife was Sunday's most watched show in the U.K. again. It drew an average audience of 8.95 million for the BBC.

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New drama The Musketeers saw its viewership drop to 5.3 million. The show earlier this year had launched with an average of 7.4 million viewers, but has since lost steam.

On ITV, meanwhile, period drama Mr. Selfridge, starring Jeremy Piven as the department store tycoon, drew nearly 4.7 million on average in the same time slot as Musketeers. The show's ratings have been down this second season.

The Musketeers is the latest version of the Alexandre Dumas classic and stars new Doctor Who lead Peter Capaldi as Cardinal Richelieu. Luke Pasqualino, Santiago Cabrera, Tom Burke, Howard Charles and Hugo Speer also star.

The drama is a co-production with BBC America, which is set to air it later in the year.

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai