Best new TV to watch in October
- Brian Donaldson
- 30 September 2020
Including Truth Seekers, The Right Stuff and Spitting Image
From latex lampoonery to dystopian dramas plus one 12-hour immersive event, a Python's amazing adventures, and with performances from Nicole Kidman, Rupert Everett, Simon Pegg and Edie Falco, there's plenty to enjoy on your small screens in October.
Brave New World
Imagine if a utopian society existed where peace and stability have been achieved through the prohibition of monogamy, privacy, family and history. The citizens of New London experience this in a shiny new adaptation of Huxley's dystopian novel.
Sky One, Friday 2 October.
Random Acts Of Flyness
This sketch comedy affair from Texan filmmaker, actor and musician Terence Nance has been described as a 'fluid, mind-melting stream-of-conscious response to the contemporary American mediascape'. Sounds ambitious, right enough.
Sky Comedy, Friday 2 October.
Emily In Paris
In this relentlessly fluffy show created by Darren 'Sex And The City' Star, Lily Collins plays an ambitious marketing exec from Chicago who relocates to Paris. Fish-out-of-water and culture-clash awkwardness ensues.
Netflix, Friday 2 October.
Narrated by funny guy Paul Rudd, this docu-series showcases nature's lesser-known small heroes with amazing cinematography guaranteed. Given that Rudd was Ant-Man, he surely knows what he's talking about.
Apple TV+, Friday 2 October.
The classic puppet parody show which skewered public figures across the 80s and 90s returns with the likes of Trump, Putin, Kim Kardashian, Michael Gove, Greta Thunberg, Mark Zuckerberg and, of course, The Pope getting it firmly in the latex neck. Let the outrage commence.
BritBox, Saturday 3 October.
The Third Day: Autumn
This is as visionary as TV gets, with an immersive, one-camera, 12-hour theatrical event bringing us the middle section of The Third Day. On Osea, the cast (including Emily Watson and Jude Law) are drawn ever further into the Essex island's sinister rituals.
Sky Arts, Saturday 3 October.
Michael Palin: Travels Of A Lifetime
Almost overnight, Michael Palin went from being a member of the anarchic Monty Python troupe to becoming the nation's favourite travel correspondent. In this four-part series, he recounts his amazing adventures and recalls the equally astonishing people he met along the way.
BBC Two, Sunday 4 October.
25 Siblings And Me
This is the incredible story of Oli, a young British man with Asperger's, who discovered he has 25 brothers and sisters, all from the same American sperm donor. The documentary follows his journey to the States for a mass family gathering.
BBC Three, Sunday 4 October.
Surely one of the hardest hitting dramas of the year with Hayley Squires in blistering form as a porn star trying to protect herself and others around her as their industry implodes. Also making an impact are Rupert Everett, Kerry Godliman and Phil Daniels.
Channel 4, Monday 5 October.
In The Face Of Terror
A three-part docu-series featuring families seeking justice after atrocities committed in Syria by the ISIS executioner dubbed 'Jihadi John', and in New Zealand mosques where a total of 51 people were murdered by a far-right extremist.
BBC Two, Monday 5 October.
Sorry, I Didn't Know
Four years after its pilot episode, a full series of this panel show about black history is launched. Jimmy Akingbola asks the questions to a revolving list of contestants including Angie Le Mar, Paul Chowdhry and Colin Salmon.
ITV, Tuesday 6 October.
The amazing Edie Falco (The Sopranos, Nurse Jackie) plays Abigail 'Tommy' Thomas, who moves from being a high-ranking cop in the NYPD to becoming the first female chief of police for Los Angeles. Not everyone is happy about that …
Alibi, Wednesday 7 October.
Agatha And The Midnight Murders
Set in 1940 London, this one-off film features Helen Baxendale as Agatha Christie suffering a crisis in both confidence and cash leaving her to consider killing off her prime suspect-chaser, Hercule Poirot. Blake Harrison and Elizabeth Tan also star.
Five, Wednesday 7 October.
The Right Stuff
Based on the bestselling book by Tom Wolfe comes this eight-part drama about the first American astronauts aka the Mercury 7, who inadvertently became the first reality TV stars.
Disney+, Friday 9 October.
The Haunting Of Bly Manor
Loosely based on Henry James' 1898 chiller The Turn Of The Screw, two small children are being looked after by a young governess in a big, scary house when strange things start to happen. Henry 'Elliott from ET' Thomas and T'Nia Miller star.
Netflix, Friday 9 October.
Lennon's Last Weekend
As we approach the 40th anniversary of John Lennon's tragic death, this documentary has footage from the Beatle's final days, and analyses the heartfelt interview that would prove to be his last.
Sky Arts, Friday 9 October.
Imagine: Marina Abramovic
Performance artist extraordinaire Marina Abramović gets the full Alan Yentob treatment in this Imagine where she opens up a vast personal archive and travels back to her hometown of Belgrade.
BBC One, Sunday 11 October.
A winner at Cannes, Belgium's The Twelve follows the trials and tribulations of a jury called to judge the case of a respected headmistress accused of murder on two counts. One of whom is her own child …
Channel 4, Sunday 18 October.
The Same Sky
Sofia Helin aka The Bridge's Saga Norén heads up the cast of this latest Euro-thriller offering which has been co-created by Paula Milne (The Politician's Wife). We head to East Germany in the 1970s where a 'Romeo agent' heads West to seduce women who work in government and defence.
More4, Friday 23 October.
Big Little Lies creator David E Kelley delivers another tightly-plotted family mystery with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant as a hugely successful New York couple whose lives are shattered after a violent death in their community
Sky Atlantic, Monday 26 October.
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost reunite for a comedy drama series about a team of paranormal investigators who stumble upon a major conspiracy that might lead to Armageddon. Susan Wokoma, Emma D'Arcy and the mighty Malcolm McDowell also do their thing.
Amazon Prime, Friday 30 October.
Check our coverage throughout October for reviews of many of these shows.