Coming up soon on your screens: Tim Minchin waxing lyrical on Roald Dahl, the return of a certain grumpy git called Steptoe, and the warped new season of American Horror Story. Yikes.
Matilda & Me
Tuesday 13th September at 9pm on Sky Arts (CH 122)
Why you should watch: Mischievous musical maestro Tim Minchin will be letting us in on the secret of making musicals cool again.
Matilda as in Roald Dahl?: Indeed. Tim created the musical version which has been playing to packed houses for quite some time now.
I hate musicals!: Not THIS musical. Roald Dahl + Minchin = awesome.
What to expect: Minchin will be getting all nostalgic about his childhood love of Dahl, and how he created this acclaimed show.
Listen out for: Tim’s sister Nel, who’ll be narrating proceedings.
Lost Sitcoms: Steptoe & Son
Wednesday 14th September at 10pm on BBC Four (CH 107)
Why you should watch: Because you’re morbidly curious to see if a remake of Steptoe & Son could possibly not be rubbish.
Chances of it not being rubbish?: Pretty high actually, as it’s based on an original episode rather than being a misguided modern “homage”.
So it won’t suck like the recent Are You Being Served then?: Nothing could possibly suck the way that sucked.
What to say: (loudly) “You dirty old maaaan!”
What not to say: See above, if your father-in-law and/or any senior male relative happens to be in the room.
Mercury Prize Live
Thursday 15th September at 9pm on BBC Four (CH 107)
Why you should watch: Forget your BRITs and Grammys. They’re for the masses. This is the one gong which proper musos care about.
The big question: Will David Bowie take the prize posthumously for his swansong masterpiece Blackstar?
Other nominees: Radiohead are the other biggies, although hipper music fans will be excited for all-female punk combo Savages, and grime kingpin Skepta.
Obligatory bizarre jazz-type thing: The Comet is Coming, who are a mash-up of free jazz, electro beats, your last hangover and the imminent apocalypse.
Whoever wins: They’ll be better than M People, who infamously won it back in the 90s.
Thursday 15th September at 9pm on Syfy (CH 135)
Why you should watch: It’s season two of the show about beautiful people turning into wolves and fighting a lot. Who can resist?
What’s the gist?: The shenanigans of Elena, a ridiculously pretty werewolf who has to deal with hot, bad boy ex-boyfriends and dark conspiracies and the occasional coven of witches.
Awesome actor name alert: The show stars someone called Greyston Holt. With a name like that he should really be the secret billionaire benefactor of a group of superheroes.
What to say: “This guilty pleasure of a show has sunk its teeth right into me.”
What not to say: “The title makes it sound like a cutthroat culinary reality show on Food Network.”
American Horror Story
Friday 16th September at 10pm on FOX (CH 157)
Why you should watch: Coming with thermonuclear levels of hype, it’s the new American Horror Story. And we’re stoked.
What’s this season’s theme?: Nobody knows. Hence the hype.
Rumours and gossip: It will be “rogue”, and “dark”, and feature children. Also, some say it will be subtitled “The Mist”.
Look who’s back: Wes Bentley, Kathy Bates, Sarah Paulson and Lady Gaga are all back to frighten us silly.
What not to do: Spoil things by looking online after it airs in the US a few days before. Don’t do it!
9/11: Truth, Lies And Conspiracies
Tuesday 13th September at 9pm on ITV (CH 103)
Why you should watch: Because you don't have to be a "truther" to be fascinated by some of the debates around 9/11.
Resident Mulder: One of the conspiracy theorists featured here is a millionaire businessman who thinks the US staged the attacks to benefit the arms industry.
Look out for: Dylan Avery, whose film Loose Change is a sort of founding text for the "truther" movement.
Most outrageous claim of the show: That the planes in 9/11 didn't exist. They were computer graphics, apparently.
Best watched with: The Internet to hand, so you can fact-check every claim and get sucked into an endless rabbit hole of conflicting ideas. Good luck with that.
Million Dollar Duck
Wednesday 14th September at 9pm on Animal Planet (CH 256)
Why you should watch: It’s a big documentary about the weirdly obsessive world of wildlife artists. Yes, that’s a thing. A very big thing.
Who are these people?: Competitors in the Federal Duck Stamp Contest – the only art competition run by the US government.
Sounds quackers: Very funny.
What actually happens?: Eccentric wildlife lovers draw animals, and it gets pretty darn fierce.
Quote of the week: “In music you have the Grammys. If you’re an actor, it’s the Oscars. If you’re a wildlife artist, it’s winning the Federal Duck Stamp Contest.”
Dating In The Dark
Thursday 15th September at 9pm on ITV2 (CH 115)
Why you should watch: It’s the big new version of the show which confirms that love is not blind, and appearances matter more than anything. Bugger.
Who’s the gist?: Foolish singletons flirt with each other in pitch darkness, then the lights are switched so they can decide if they still like each other.
They’re not shallow, right? Beauty is only skin deep, right?: Er, yeah. Right.
Watch if you like: First Dates, Dinner Date and Blind Date (though if it’s the latter you should really be watching Antiques Roadshow, you old codger).
Don’t watch if you like: Your naïve, innocent notion of how it’s important to have a good personality.
Hooten & The Lady
Friday 16th September at 9pm on Sky1 (CH 102)
Why you should watch: It’s a good old rip-roaring exotic adventure series of the kind you thought they didn’t make anymore.
What’s the gist?: A posh female museum curator joins forces with a rugged, wise-cracking male adventurer for quippy treasure-hunting escapades abroad.
Prevalence of tribal warriors and cunning French baddies: High.
In other words: It’s Indiana Jones meets Romancing the Stone.
Facial recognition analysis: The guy playing Hooten was Jimmy Olsen in the Dean Cain Superman series.
Celebrity Island With Bear Grylls
Sunday 18th September at 9pm on Channel 4 (CH 104)
Why you should watch: It’s for charity, so that’s a good thing. Plus, you’ll get to see Lydia from TOWIE yelping. (Probably.)
Meet the castaways: Made in Chelsea’s Ollie, Dr Dawn Harper from Embarrassing Bodies, and quip-monger Dom Joly are among the celebs going all Crusoe.
Obligatory political person: Karen Danczuk, the selfie-prone former Labour councillor.
What to say: “Literally nobody could possibly resist seeing this lot get more and more ravaged by the elements.”
What not to say: “Bear should toss them some spears and make them get their Lord of the Flies on.”
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