10. Bear Grylls escapes from hell.
TV’s most reckless hardman is back for a new six-part series for the Discovery Channel. The adventurer meets people who’ve experienced near-death situations and makes them relive those traumatic experiences in the name of your entertainment. But there’s a self-help element as he counsels them of what they might have done better.
Monday 7 October, 9pm, Discovery Channel.
9. Peaky Blinders approaches its climax.
We tipped the Beeb’s period gangster drama for excellence right at the start and its mixture of grit and black humour hasn’t disappointed. In this penultimate episode, everything’s about to come to a head. Tommy has to deal with an IRA chief who’s arrived in Small Heath to avenge his cousin’s death. Meanwhile Campbell gets closer to the stolen guns, and Grace has to decide whether her loyalties lie.
Thursday 10 October, 9pm, BBC Two.
8. The Bake Off quarter final.
Nothing is ever as exciting as cake week on The Great British Bake Off, but that’s okay. There’s still no sign of this adorably reassuring twee format getting… stale. Sorry.
Tuesday 8 October, 8pm, BBC Two.
7. Masters Of Sex debuts.
C4’s latest glossy US import fits snugly into its current Real Sex season. Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan star as real-life sex therapists William Masters and Virginia Johnson. In the America of the 1950s, a sexual revolution is brewing. But what happens to your own relationship when you’re the people at the forefront of it. The channel usually knows what it’s doing with imports, so worth a go.
Tuesday 8 October, 9pm, Channel 4.
6. Malala Yousafzai does Panorama.
Last year, Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban on her way home from school in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. Now the inspirational figure breaks her silence in a Panorama special, Shot For Going To School. She tells journalist Mishal Husain: “I want to go back to Pakistan but first of all I need to be fully empowered… and to make myself powerful, I only need one thing, that is education, so I will get education, then I’ll go back to Pakistan.”
Monday 7 October, 8.30pm, BBC One.
5. Hollyoaks Later goes Breaking Bad.
Hollyoaks’ sex-and-swearing spin-offs have long been a national joke, but a few years ago something strange happened. They got good. This year’s run, stripped across five nights, sees them to a Breaking Bad storyline, as cancer-stricken Tony (Nick Pickard) throw get involved in a dangerous game with Danny Dyer. Old friends Finn (James Redmond), Dom (John Pickard) and Mandy (Sarah-Jayne Dunn) all pop up, as does Kurt (Jeremy Edwards), despite being killed off in 1999…
Monday 7 – Friday 11 October, 10pm, E4.
4. Sex Box is a thing that’s actually happening.
Channel 4 wants to reclaim the discussion about sex from the porn world by putting three couples in a box, making them have sex and talk about it with Mariella Frostrup afterwards. The premise of this show feels a little undermined by the fact you don’t actually get to see any of the action. But even if it is ‘all about the discussion’, it still sounds icky. And of course we’ll all be watching.
Monday 7 October, 10pm, Channel 4.
3. Homeland is back on track.
Homeland got off to a refreshingly slow start when it kicked off its third season, after the increasingly daft twists of last year. There’s still no sign of Brody, but it looks like producers’ promises of a rebooted, more emotional version of Homeland were more than just talk. How could Saul do that to Carrie?!
Sunday 13 October, 9pm, Channel 4.
2. Sleepy Hollow has no Johnny Depp but is still awesome.
One of the breakout hits of the new US season hits the UK. Based on Washington Irvine’s classic 1820 tale, Ichabod Crane finds himself transported to the Sleepy Hollow of the present day, and so the battle with the headless horseman of the apocalypse gets to play out with added machine guns. This is great fun and worth investing in and this is why.
Wednesday 9 October, 9pm, Universal Channel.
1. The X Factor goes live.
You’ve been dithering for weeks, ‘catching it if you’re in’, being quietly impressed with the return of Sharon and getting more frustrated by the convoluted new twists than you can really admit to yourself. But by this point, resistance is going to be useless. It’s the start of the live show, so you may as well kiss goodbye to your weekends between now and Christmas.
Saturday 12 October, 8pm, ITV.