Alan Dee’s guide to the pick of next week’s TV

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SATURDAY

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Merlin (BBC One, 7.45pm)

The fifth season of the Beeb’s internationally successful fantasy saga kicks off with Camelot looking more prosperous than ever.

But in the frozen north, men are vanishing without explanation and King Arthur and his knights risk life and limb to find out why.

To get answers, Merlin must first fight a battle that pushes him to his limits.

SUNDAY

Homeland (Channel 4, 9pm)

It’s official – Homeland is the best American drama currently on our screens.

Of course, if you were hooked on the first series, which aired on Channel 4 earlier this year, this won’t be news to you.

But after the programme swept the board at the Emmys last month expectations are even higher for this second run.

Former CIA agent Carrie is trying to rebuild her life after her failed attempt to unmask all-American hero Nicholas Brody as a terrorist when a tip-off leads her back back into her old investigations.

Meanwhile Brody, now a congressman, is struggling to deal with the pressures of public office.

MONDAY

8 Out of 10 Cats 
(Channel 4, 10pm)

After a short break from the small screen, Jimmy Carr returns to the schedules with the 14th series of this irreverent panel show in which celebrity contestants answer questions based on opinion polls carried out around the country.

Team captains Sean Lock and Jon Richardson are still on board, even if the Monday night slot might suggest that schedulers might believe the format is coming to the end of its natural.

TUESDAY

Fresh Meat (Channel 4, 10pm)

It may be autumn in real life, but it’s spring for the students of Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong’s hit comedy and love is in the air. Kingsley has a new girlfriend – who just happens to be Josie’s best friend – and Oregon finds true love herself. Meanwhile, the gang find a replacement for the ‘invisible’ former seventh housemate Paul Lamb, Vod needs to get a job after she ends up owing everyone money, JP has a shock when an old friend transfers from Exeter, and Howard starts moonlighting at the local abattoir.

WEDNESDAY

DCI Banks (ITV1, 9pm)

Stephen Tompkinson returns for a new run of three two-part dramas based on novels by bestselling author Peter Robinson.

The first case proves to be rather too close to home – its main focus is Banks’ roguish brother Roy, a wealthy businessman who has disappeared in London.

While Banks moves to the capital to find him, new sidekick DI Helen Morton is called in when a young woman’s body is found in a car.

But why does the corpse have Banks’ name and address written on a piece of paper in her pocket...

THURSDAY

The Plane Crash

See exactly what happens when a 170-seat Boeing 727 passenger jet falls from the sky as the aircraft makes a forced landing in a remote Mexican desert with everything recorded by state-of-the art equipment.

The crash itself should be pretty spectacular – but perhaps not recommended viewing for anyone with a fear of flying.

FRIDAY

Me and Mrs Jones 
(BBC One, 9.30pm)

Sarah Alexander stars in a new sitcom as a woman whose life is becoming increasingly complicated.

Not only does she have to contend with an awkward ex-husband and his new Swedish girlfriend, she also has the kids to look out for and is hunting for a new man. Neil Morrissey, Nathaniel Parker and Robert Sheehanare in the supporting case and the show has been created by Green Wing’s Oriane Messina and Fay Rusling.