X marks the spot ...

The X Factor is back on Saturday night
The X Factor is back on Saturday night
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Allan Crow takes a look at the week’s TV highlights

(Saturday, STV, 7.45 p.m.)
Eyes down, let’s play X Factor Bingo.

Award yourself a sweetie or Pringle as you tick off the obligatory karaoke show clichés:

1. Contestant bursts into tears mid-audition and begs for a second chance as ‘‘this is all I’ve dreamt of.’’

2. Simon ‘‘falls out’’ with Louis.

3. Louis flusters about going to deadlock and Dermot says ‘‘I need to push you for an answer, Louis.’’

4. A boy band is formed, made up of contestants too hopeless to make it on their own.

5. A girl band is formed based on contestants too hopeless, etc.

6. Someone is jettisoned from the above boy/girl band and departs in tears for 15 seconds of fame.

7. There shall be a novelty act which the judges struggle to kill off until Simon delivers his death stare.

8. The back stories are milked for every ounce of emotion, and tears squeezed from supportive families.

9. The audience will display the critical nous of a budgie, and wildly applaud people they have never heard of or will hear of again.

10. A campaign will be launched to prevent the Cowellisation of Christmas and deny some X Factor kid the festive number one.

Ah yes, a new series of the show that has no shame begins this weekend. Mercifully, so does the ice hockey season, so we’ll be spared Saturday nights watching this over-rated, cynically produced reality rubbish.

The Cowellmeister is back to spread his usual brand of encouragement and all the usual suspects are busy learning their roles.

Basically, more of the same old, same old, but one day – one day, dear reader – we shall surely tire of the whole circus and it’ll disappear for good.

Blondie’s New York; The Making of Parallel Lines

(Friday, BBC4, 9.00 p.m)

Kids, if you want to hear real music and see a true star, then check out this superb documentary about one of the best bands to emerge of the 1970s.

It recalls their stunning debut album which gave us ‘Heart Of Glass’, ‘Picture This’ and ‘Hanging On The Telephone’ to name but a few, although the X Factor generation will probably hear ‘One Way Or Another’ and go ‘‘ooh, One Direction!’’

Children, listen and learn as the band members go through every track and explain the influence New York had on their electrifying album.

And once it’s done, stay tuned to see them live at Glastonbury some 40 years later, still sounding magnificent.

Even Cowell might approve ...

Dr Who

(Saturday, BBC1, 7.30 p.m.)

Not the strongest opener last weekend, but I thought it did a good job of introducing the new doc, and recalibrating the relationship with his sidekick.

The plot was a bit dithery, but these regeneration episodes are tricky - Peter Capaldi is going to make an ace Time Lord.

Tonight he introduces himself to the Daleks.

Big School

(Friday, BBC1, 9.30 p.m.)

Must confess, I struggled to get into the first series of the star-studded sitcom set in a school.

For all it boasted David Walliams and Catherine Tate, it didn’t really catch fire for me as it chartered the story of two characters who never quite managed to declare their feelings for each other.

Hopefully it’ll move on in series two ...

Mickey Flanagan: Back In The Game

(Friday, Channel 4, 9.30 p.m.)

You’ll recognise him from umpteen panel shows, but there is much more to Flanagan than that - as this smashing stand-up set shows.

Sit back and enjoy.