This week sees the return of The X Factor and Great British Bake Off, alongside some good old fashioned human experimentation. Hopefully nobody will come away with any lasting mental scarring.
In Solitary: The Anti-Social Experiment
Monday 28th August at 9pm on Channel 5 (CH 105)
Why you should watch: There’s something darkly compelling about seeing people lose their minds right in front of us.
What actually happens?: Ordinary people are literally put into solitary confinement, just to see what might happen.
Huge levels of anxiety?: Yep, one participant lasts just five measly hours.
Who are the guinea pigs?: Members of the good ol’ British public, including a trainee nurse, a lifestyle blogger, and a scaffolder.
Is this even safe?: Of course it is! They’re being monitored by a team of “experts”. So that’s OK then.
2017 MTV Video Music Awards
Monday 28th August at 9pm on MTV (CH 134)
Why you should watch: Because it’s a big fat celebrity-infested glamourfest and we’ve all got sycophantic tendencies.
Who’s hosting?: Some singer called Katy Perry.
Who’s performing?: As always, the cream of the US charts, including Ed Sheeran, Miley Cyrus, Lorde, and Fifth Harmony.
Artist of the Year Nominees: It’ll be a close call – Bruno Mars, Kendrick Lamar, Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande, Lorde, and The Weeknd are all in the running.
Don’t miss: The pre-show, which starts at 8pm on MTV.
Married To A Celebrity: The Survival Guide
Tuesday 29th August at 10.20pm on Channel 4 (CH 104)
Why you should watch: Celebrity or not, whinging about your spouse is something every married person can relate to.
Who’s whinging?: In the first episode it’s the other-halves of Joan Collins, Freddie Flintoff, and Jon Richardson.
Who’s got the juiciest gripe?: Joan’s husband can’t bear her insufferable snoring.
Why is Jon Richardson’s wife annoyed?: Because he’s a bit of a skinflint.
Also: The show reveals the results of a nationwide survey, showing that civilians are just as fed up with their spouses’ irritating traits and habits as the celebs are.
The Great British Bake Off
Tuesday 29th August at 8pm on Channel 4 (CH 104)
Why you should watch: Because we should all learn to embrace change.
Why was everyone upset again?: The show emigrated from its “natural home” on the Beeb to Channel 4. Sacrilege!
Who’s presenting?: Replacing Mel and Sue are The Mighty Boosh’s Noel Fielding, as well as the reliably pleasant Sandi Toksvig.
Who’s replacing our Mary?: Esteemed culinary queen, Prue Leith.
In the first episode: We meet the contestants as they embark on Cake Week, where they’ve got to whip up a range of calorific creations, including a fancy illusion cake.
Celebrity Island With Bear Grylls
Tuesday 29th August at 9.15pm on Channel 4 (CH 104)
Why you should watch: There’s nothing this great nation loves more than seeing celebrities at their pitiful worst.
What’s the gist?: Ten famous folks are dumped on an exotic island for an entire month, with just medical supplies, basic tools, 24-hours worth of water, and lots of screen time.
Who are the celebs?: They include Olympian Iwan Thomas, comedian Mark Watson, ex-Pussycat Doll Melody Thornton, as well as Lucy Mecklenburgh from TOWIE…
Who’s the celeb you’ll actually recognise?: Breaking Bad’s RJ Mitte, who you’ll remember as Breaking Bad’s Walt Jr.
In the first episode: Bear Grylls drops them off in a crocodile-infested swamp – but don’t get your hopes up.
Thursday 31st August at 9pm on FOX (CH 157)
Why you should watch: This fellow is devilishly charming.
What’s the gist?: This glossy US drama series follows the disillusioned Lord of Hell as he quits his day job to run a bar in Los Angeles and help cops to solve crimes. Obviously.
Posh pedigree: This take on the Devil has been apparently inspired by Oscar Wilde, Noel Coward and Mick Jagger.
Who’s in it?: Lucifer is played by the suitably seductive Tom Ellis, better known as Gary in Miranda.
Friday 1st September at 10.35pm on BBC1 (CH 101)
Why you should watch: Because you might have a pun deficiency.
What is it?: A pun-packed half-hour comedy pilot.
Who’s in it?: A cast of funny folk, headed up by Tim Vine - best known for his role on the BBC’s Not Going Out.
What’s the gist?: Tim owns an antiques shop and looks for a celebrity to cut the ribbon for its grand opening – Ore Oduba agrees, but only if Tim goes back in time to the Middle Ages to fix his broken arrow…
That sounds silly: It is, but go with it. There are puns.
Friday 1st September on Netflix
Why you should watch: It’s an epic examination of the drugs war, and has lots of gory violence too.
What’s it about?: This top-notch Netflix series has so far told bloody, real-life story of Pablo Escobar – one of history’s biggest and nastiest drug kings.
And now?: Pablo’s been finally put in his grave, but there’s plenty more bullet-ridden shenanigans to come as the DEA battle the Cali Cartel.
But will it be good without Pablo?: Hey, Homeland was still excellent after Damien Lewis bit the dust.
Binge-watchable?: Yep, all 10 episodes drop at once.
Narcos is available to watch from Friday 1 September on Netflix
Rock And Roll
Friday 1st September at 9pm on Sky Arts (CH 122)
Why you should watch: Anyone who likes to moan about today’s watered-down pop music will want to break out their air guitars with this nostalgic new show.
What’s it about?: This documentary series delves into the crazy, profound, and revolutionary history of rock and roll, drawing on concert films, fly-on-the-wall footage, and archive interviews.
Episode 1: Focuses on death, a subject dear to the heart of many a rock star.
In particular: We hear about the struggle many musicians have felt between religion and rock music, blues legend Robert Johnson believing he’d sold his soul to the devil for success.
Interviews with: Jerry Lee Lewis, who thought he’d go to hell for his tunes, and Johnny’s daughter Rosanne Cash, who believes the balance between sinner and saint is at the artistic core of rock music.
The X Factor
Saturday 2nd September at 8pm on ITV (CH 103)
Why you should watch: The same reason as every year: to laugh at deluded and eccentric wannabes, and to “aww” at the sob stories of talented people.
Who are the judges this year?: The original judging panel are back again (so Simon, Sharon, and Louis) as well as long-time addition Nicole Scherzinger.
Who’s presenting?: Who else but Dermot O’Leary!
Who won last year?: Matt Terry – already forgotten?
How many series is this now?: This will be the 14th – and fortunately for us those auditioning still don’t know any better.