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TV and Culture Guide: What to Watch, Read and Listen to this October

collage of featured books, shows and albums
Staying in
September 2023
Reading time 5 Minutes

Staying in as the nights get colder and darker? Here's our pick of the best entertainment coming up this month

From the return of Strictly, Bake Off, Taskmaster and Big Brother, to new/old Taylor Swift music and the TV adaptation of Lessons in Chemistry, there's so much to look forward to watching, reading and listening to this October.
What to Watch

Strictly Come Dancing
Da-da-da-da-da-da-daah! It’s back and we couldn’t be happier. Week one was a shocker on all accounts as the bar has been set high in most (but definitely not all) cases. That Angela Rippon high kick speaks for itself. Our Saturday nights are sorted for the foreseeable.

The Great British Bake Off
Channel 4
The 14th season of The Great British Bake Off began on 26th September and it’s at the top of our October watchlist. Alison Hammond joins Noel Fielding this year to present the show and we’re rooting for Yorkshire-born Abbi, who gets her baking inspiration from the great outdoors using foraged ingredients. Unconfirmed rumours suggest Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds could make an appearance too.

Channel 4
The 16th season of Taskmaster returned last week and this time Alex Horne and Greg Davies are setting ridiculous challenges for comedy legend Julian Clary, Hull actress, writer and stand-up comedian Lucy Beaumont, Australian comedian and actor Sam Campbell, former Great British Bake Off host Sue Perkins and Cheaters star Susan Wokoma – but who will be crowned the champion?

Boiling Point
This new BBC drama (airing on 1st October) follows the multi award-winning feature film of the same name. Eight months after her mentor Andy Jones (Stephen Graham) suffered a heart attack, head chef Carly is battling to forge a name for new Dalston restaurant Point North alongside her old kitchen crew. The pressure is on.

All Creatures Great and Small
Channel 5
James and Helen Herriot are welcoming viewers back to Darrowby for a fourth, seven-part series (including a much-anticipated Christmas special). The story this time begins in 1940, when Winston Churchill is in office and Europe is under serious threat. The first episode will air on 5th October.

Read More: What to Expect from North East Comedy Short Where it Ends on BBC iPlayer

Big Brother
The iconic reality show that inspired so many others is finally back (on 8th October) and we’ve got really high hopes. This new series will feature a fresh cast of housemates from diverse backgrounds who will live together for up to six weeks with cameras watching their every move. As always, tasks, nominations and live evictions will put them to the test.

Lessons in Chemistry
Apple TV+
On 13th October one of last year’s most popular books will come to life. This new series is set in the 1950s when Elizabeth’s dream of being a scientist is being challenged by society. She accepts a job on a TV cooking show to teach housewives much more than just recipes.

The Duchess and Her Magical Kingdom
Stream via Channel 4
With all episodes now available to watch on demand, go behind-the-scenes of Alnwick Castle to see The Duchess of Northumberland create her magical kingdom – Lilidorei. This is a fantastic opportunity to see what all the fuss is about.

What to Read

We Loved

Lucy Nichol
Lucy’s writing never disappoints, which is why I was excited to pick up her latest novel – No Worries If Not!, all about what happens when you decide to stop apologising. Manners cost nothing, but Charlotte is tired of being walked all over, and she’s finally found her breaking point. But maybe she’ll be sorry she ever stopped staying sorry. Almost a little bit too relatable, Charlotte embodies all women who have been conditioned to be overly apologetic, and her chaotic journey left me maddened and saddened but laughing throughout.
Faye Dixon, Arts Editor

Lisa Jewel
I’ve been waiting to get my hands on the sequel to The Family Upstairs ever since it was announced as I loved the twists and turns of the first book. The novel follows the same structure with three points of view, following Henry in his disturbing quest to find Phin, we learn more about Lucy’s haunting ex husband, and we’re introduced to DCI Samuel Owusu who is investigating the bones of a young woman who was killed many years ago. This book had me hooked and I was racing through each chapter to discover what other twists of fate and horrors had occurred at Cheyne Walk.
Charlotte Cooper, Food Editor

Trevor Wood
A thrilling read for a cold and gloomy day, Trevor Wood takes readers to a Northumbrian village where all is calm until a fight breaks out between Ruby's dad and a suspicious stranger. When said stranger is found in a pool of his own blood on their kitchen floor, the dad and daughter must pack a bag and flee – but Ruby has no idea what events are about to unfold, starting with her dad being captured. Desperate to find him, she seeks help from the villagers she's shunned all her life. Secrets are offered in dribs and drabs throughout this book via letters from the father which are weaved between the action. It's so unputdownable I read it in one sitting – no surprise as it’s from one of the North East's favourite authors.
Faye Dixon, Arts Editor

Read More: The Best New Paperbacks to Buy Now

On Our To-Read List

Michelle Rawlins
It’s the summer of 1940 and the war is raging on, but the Steel Girls are fighting their own battles at home. As they come together to be there in Nancy’s hour of need, will life ever be the same again? Based on the true story and experiences of the forgotten heroines of Sheffield’s steel industry during World War II, this is a heartwarming historical romance. Sheffield-based author Michelle Rawlins is an award-winning freelance journalist and this book is the fourth in the Steel Girls series.

Lee Child and Andrew Child
Publishing on 24th October, Lee Child takes us back to 1992 when eight respectable people have been found dead across the US. The deaths look like accidents until one body gets some unexpected attention from the Secretary of Defence. Jack Reacher is assigned as the army's representative and to find the killer he must navigate the ulterior motives of his new ‘partners’.

Sophie Hannah and Agatha Christie
In December 1931. Hercule Poirot and Inspector Edward Catchpool are called to investigate the murder of a man on a Norfolk hospital ward. Poirot stays in a crumbling mansion by the coast to spend the festive period with Catchpool’s family while he investigates, but he has less than a week to solve the crime and get home in time for Christmas. Publishing on 26th October, we’re looking forward to reading this reimagining of Agatha Christie's iconic detective.

What to Listen To

Art Inspo

Actor Russell Tovey and gallerist Robert Diament host Talk Art, featuring exclusive interviews with leading artists, curators and gallerists, and occasionally their talented friends from other artsy industries.
Our favourite episode: Tracey Emin
The duo meet iconic artist Tracey Emin to discuss her return to her hometown of Margate, her new art school and her solo exhibition.

In this new podcast James Peak tells the story of how iconic pseudonymous street artist Banksy became one of the most famous, and infamous, living artists.
Our favourite episode: Who is He?
In the last episode of this series, Banksy springs a surprise retrospective show in Glasgow and James persuades a member of Banksy’s secret team to share stories.

Professional artists Peter Keegan and Tom Shepherd discuss the practical issues of making art your career by drawing on their own experiences and offering candid advice. Peter is a portrait painter and Tom is a watercolour artist with a passion for wildlife.
Our favourite episode: YouTube
In this episode, Peter and Tom discuss YouTube, the possibilities it can present artists, and how to utilise it effectively.

Read More: Four Thought-Provoking Podcasts to Listen To

Autumn’s Soundtrack

Paint My Bedroom Black

Holly Humberstone
We’re so excited for the release of Holly’s debut album Paint My Bedroom Black on (the seemingly not so unlucky) Friday 13th October. She’s the voice behind popular tracks The Walls Are Way Too Thin and Scarlett and if those are anything to go by, we know you’ll love her new music. You might have also seen her perform live if you were one of the lucky ones at those memorable Sam Fender gigs at St James’ Park.

The Place We Used To Meet
Scouting for Girls
Cheeky chaps Scouting for Girls are back… but did they ever really leave? Not in our book. We’ve be singing She's So Lovely religiously since 2007. Fingers crossed this new music is just as good as their old stuff! The Place We Used To Meet is released on 13th October.

1989 (Taylor's Version)
Taylor Swift
The upcoming fourth re-recorded album by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift is one of our favourites! Featuring tracks Blank Space, Shake it Off, Bad Blood and Style – we’ll be re-adding to our in-car playlist on 27th October and, until then, over here sobbing that we didn’t get our hands on tickets for her UK tour.

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