It’s competition time! With The Great British Bake Off back on Channel 4 and Britain’s Got Talent building to a climax on ITV, it’s time to get competitive with these 10 TV picks.
It’s not the winning that counts, it’s the taking part (believe that and you’ll believe anything). But the real pleasure of these 10 TV shows is in the watching.
The Great British Bake Off - Channel 4
The Great British Bake Off returned to Channel 4 to put a smile on the face of the nation.
The ultimate in feelgood TV, the opening episode of this year’s series - the 11th - was watched by nearly 11 million viewers, Channel 4’s biggest audience since 1985.
New presenter Matt Lucas joined Noel Fielding and judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith in the Bake Off tent. Its winning mix of triumph and disaster, hilarity and heartache, camaraderie and cakes makes for simply delicious TV.
What they say: ‘As good an opening episode as I’ve seen … A smashing start for TV’s sweetest treat.’ The Times
Britain’s Got Talent - ITV
There isn’t a night of TV quite like the live grand final of Britain’s Got Talent. All these weeks and months of effort have been building to this one night of nerve-shattering dra-ma, presided over by Ant and Dec.
This Saturday [10 October] we will find out which of the 10 acts to make it to the final has won the top prize of £250,000 and the chance to perform at the Royal Variety Perfor-mance.
And if you think you’ve got what it takes, auditions for the 2021 series have just opened.
What they say: ‘Just the buoyant, feelgood escapism we all need.’ Daily Telegraph
The Bridge - Channel 4
It is the most intriguing of premises - 12 strangers brought together in the middle of the Welsh countryside, tasked with building a 250 metre bridge by hand to an island in the middle of a lake and a chance to win £100,000.
If that doesn’t sound tricky (and appetising) enough, programme-makers promise a ‘series of twists and turns that offer dilemmas, spark rivalries, and put their ability to work as a team to the test’.
Welcome to The Bridge, Channel 4’s eagerly-awaited new epic adventure show. Narrated by James McAvoy, it begins on Sunday [11 October].
What they say: ‘The ultimate test of mental skill, physical agility and group dynamics.’ Radio Times
Portrait/Landscape Artist of the Year - Sky Arts
Unable to choose between these two much-loved painting institutions on Sky Arts - Portrait Artist of the Year began in 2013, Landscape Artist of the Year two years later - we decided to include them both.
The seventh series of Portrait Artist of the Year begins on 14 October, presented by Stephen Mangan. It will also be the first new series of the show since Sky Arts went free-to-air.
It is always a delight to watch these amateur painters at work and an inspiration to try it for ourselves.
What they say: ‘While the competition is the hook, the real fascination is in the process …I came away feeling I knew more about the techniques involved than I had got from any number of previous arts documentaries.’ The Guardian
Family Fortunes - ITV
It’s not easy following in the footsteps of Les Dennis and Bob Monkhouse, but Gino D’Acampo - to use the sort of double entendre that he would surely appreciate - pulled it off.
D’Acampo is host of the all-new Family Fortunes, which returned to ITV last month [September] after an 18-year gap.
All the show’s familiar elements returned, with two families doing battle by guessing the most popular replies to questions put to 100 people. But with D’Acampo at the helm, he made it entirely his own.
What they say: ‘Many big laughs … [Gino D’Acampo] hit the ground running.’ Daily Mirror
Taskmaster - Channel 4
Fresh from its win at this year’s Bafta TV awards, Taskmaster returns with new celebrities and a new home on 15 October.
After nine series on Dave, Alex Horne’s panel show switches to Channel 4 with a line-up of contestants that has the makings of a classic - Daisy May Cooper, Johnny Vegas, Katherine Parkinson, Mawaan Rizwan and Richard Herring.
Horne is back, of course, as the genial sidekick to the Taskmaster himself, Greg Davies. Expect ridiculous challenges and lots of laughs (with all the previous series available to watch on All4).
What they say: ‘It's all deliriously childish - and stupidly funny.’ Daily Mail
A League of Their Own - Sky One
A League of Their Own is now one of the longest-running panel shows on British TV.
The 15th series, currently on Sky One, is unlike any other because of the enforced absence of host James Corden due to Covid travel restrictions, with Romesh Ranganathan taking over the majority of presenting duties.
But like any successful team the Bafta-winning show has strength in depth, with team captains Andrew Flintoff and Jamie Redknapp at the top of their game, together with an A-list rota of celebrity guests.
What they say: ‘Always fun and unpredictable.’ The Herald
Celebrity Karaoke Club - ITV2
The contestants taking part in Celebrity Karaoke Club will be familiar to ITV2 viewers - just not necessarily for their singing.
A host of reality TV stars feature in the first series of the show, currently on ITV2, including Gogglebox favourite Scarlett Moffatt, TOWIE’s Jessica Wright, I’m A Celebrity star Roman Kemp and X Factor’s Diana Vickers.
They perform solo or in groups as they battle to avoid being kicked out at the end of each episode, with the singers sitting in judgement of their fellow contestants.
What they say: ‘An all-star music entertainment show with a cheeky twist.’ Daily Mail
Masterchef Australia - W
There was a new look to this 12th series of the hit cookery show, becoming one of the most talked-about series of Masterchef Australia to date.
In came an all-new judging panel, including former series winner Andy Allen, and back came a host of contestants from previous series eager for another crack at the Masterchef title.
But the essential ingredients - based on the original UK format which became a global hit - remained the same. A feast for the eyes.
What they say: ‘Reminded us all that nothing brings together different people and cultures better than food.’ Buzzfeed
Rankin’s 2020 - Sky Arts
The photographer Rankin described this six-part series, which has just begun on Sky Arts, as his ‘most ambitious project yet’.
A search to find the country’s best amateur and professional photographers, Rankin invited people to send in photos - taken on any phone - to help document this extraordinary year.
Each episode he is joined by celebrity guests as he focuses on a particular category of photography and offers up his own technical and artistic masterclass.
What they say: 'An open call to anybody who thinks they can take a great picture.’ Variety