The BBC has decided not to include Sir Tom Jones in the 2016 series of The Voice, a decision that’s not gone down well with viewers.
Following news that the coach won’t spin again – with Boy George and Paloma Faith replacing Sir Tom and Rita Ora – 83% of the readers we polled admitted they’d wanted to see the legendary crooner return.
Of the 1,500+ votes we received just 6.8% felt change was exactly what the show needed, while 10% are keen to reserve judgment until seeing the new coaches in action.
With four series under his belt, Jones himself admitted to surprise at the development, writing on Facebook that he’d “put the time” in his schedule for the 2016 run.
“I’ve supported the show and the BBC since the beginning. I was told yesterday, with no consultation or conversation of any kind, that I would not be returning,” Jones explained on Friday.
“Having been through plenty of transformations throughout the years, I support and admire creative change. But being informed, as a matter of duty and respect, is an important part of creative relationships. This sub-standard behaviour from the executives is very disappointing.”
A spokesperson for the BBC said: “The final decision on the coaches’ line-up for series five of The Voice was only taken on Wednesday and Tom’s team was informed early yesterday morning. We then announced it to the press so that it didn’t leak. This has been the same every year and no role was ever promised.”
“Tom hasn’t been axed or fired from The Voice,” they added. “He was out of contract once series four ended in April and that contract has not been renewed.”
But viewers remain disappointed, taking to RadioTimes.com to air their views.
“Sir Tom Jones gave The Voice gravitas, it won’t be worth watching without him. I am amongst the vast majority of bitterly disappointed viewers,” wrote one.
For another reader, only this many question marks would correctly express the feeling: “Holy god why try to fix a wheel that’s already working, just typical of the media of today, who the hell are they listening to if the response is so good in favour of Tom?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????”
“Bad decision. Ratings for The Voice going down?! He has the experience and life history to make this show worth watching. I think a fair section of the audience will fail to switch over to The Voice,” wrote another.
And there are more saying they won’t be watching the new series: “Sir Tom is The Voice, definitely wouldn’t watch it without him!”
“TOM JONES is The VOICE. The BBC has shot itself in the foot …again!”
“So much for The Voice. No point in watching without Sir Tom Jones.”
Some feel the new coaching line-up is only focussed on attracting viewers: “You need a balance of age and experience on the judging panel to match the similar balance in contestants. Another example of the BBC pursuing audience figures at the expense of quality. I’ll not be watching again.”
Some viewers are happy to see the change though: “His contract was not reviewed. So what? He must have read the small print? The programme needed some fresh blood, give someone else a go.”
“I think it’s the right thing to do to freshen the show up. Although Sir Tom is a national treasure I don’t personally think he added a great deal to the show. Looking forward to the new line up. Looks more exciting to me and I will be watching.”
One viewer said that they’d like to have seen a second woman on the panel: “Yes The Voice has to change – just like everything – I would like to have seen another female coach to replace Tom to work alongside Paloma.”
And another felt there was a simpler solution – just add another chair: “I absolutely think Boy George would be fabulous on The Voice but I don’t think getting rid of the iconic Tom Jones should be an option. Just get a 5th seat, there’s no rules saying there should only be 4 is there? Come on BBC sort it out.”
The Voice returns to BBC in 2016