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TV highlights 13.10.2014

Speedway: Elite League Grand Final First Leg
7.30pm, Sky Sports 2

The business end of the Elite League season. With there no longer being any relegation from the league, the only matter to be settled is who emerges victorious in the two-leg final, competed for by the teams who finished in the top four – a curious system, as you would have thought coming top of the league would settle the matter itself. Poole Pirates, last year’s winners, are the bookies’ favourites, with King’s Lynn, Swindon and Coventry also in the mix. David Stubbs

Gadget Man
8.30pm, Channel 4

Whisper it, but Richard Ayoade seems be replacing his Gadget Man predecessor Stephen Fry as the geeks’ geek. Put it down to his ability to project a kind of self-deprecating, if self-conscious, vulnerability – a schtick that helps to humanise what is, after all, a show about technology. Tonight’s theme is property, and features window-cleaning robots, garden pods that help solve space issues, and a visit to one of the country’s most hi-tech homes in the company of Claudia Winkleman. Last in the series. Jonathan Wright

9pm, ITV

After last week’s crime of passion in the legal profession, this new series is bedding in with cases somewhat closer to home for Sidney Chambers. Amanda’s engagement party becomes the scene of two incidents – a theft and a murder – and the finger of suspicion falls a little too conveniently on the vicar’s sister’s new jazzman beau (it “helps” that he’s black and this is 1950s Cambridgeshire). As Geordie examines new theories, Chambers is in the grip of heartbreak and getting mildly worried about his drinking habits. Bim Adewunmi

24 Hours In Police Custody
9pm, Channel 4

Child safeguarding is the focus of this disturbing edition of the series, which centres on the 24 hours police have to charge or bail people once they’ve been arrested. Two men are being held in the cells: one suspected of attempting to abduct a young girl, the other confirmed to have a vast amount of child pornography on his computer. There may be banter between colleagues and impressive work on show, but this is bleak, murky and thoroughly depressing stuff, miles away from the life-affirming air of most obs-docs. Rachel Aroesti

9pm, Channel 5

The superhero movie’s migration to telly continues with this Batman origin story, focusing on the fledgling years of the Dark Knight’s associates and enemies. This opening episode follows young detective James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) as he investigates the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents. It’s cape-swishingly stylish and does a solid job of depicting the titular city in its true iniquitous form, but this pilot episode is undone by a telegraphed plotline and some clunky dialogue. Gwilym Mumford

Cosmonauts: How Russia Won The Space Race
9pm, BBC4

Frankly, it is difficult to imagine a non-enthralling programme about the 20th-century space race. But this is extraordinary, illustrating the USSR’s space programme with archive footage and using the recollections of veteran cosmonauts, who still delight in the bewilderment of their better-resourced US rivals that this “backward nation of potato farmers” could beat them to the stars. It’s followed by The Spaceman Of Afghanistan, a profile of the first Afghan in space. Andrew Mueller

The Walking Dead
9pm, FOX

The season five opener, and as Rick meta-comments, “It’s right back to our regularly scheduled shitstorm.” The watchwords here are basically “unfettered” and “nihilism”. If the first sickening 10 minutes aren’t enough to send you crying to sleep, highlights include a flaming zombie making a steak flambé of somebody’s face, along with a horrific revelation about the Terminus community. (Did no one bother to check their OED for the definition of “Terminus”?) Well, as they say in The Walking Dead, “You’re either the butcher – or the cattle.” Ali Catterall

10pm, E4

With the big series finale now in sight, this murder mystery drama from This Is England and Skins writer Jack Thorne continues to ramp up the tension and complexity. Stalking victim Rob (Jordan Stephens) interferes with James’s (Billy Howle) plans to go ahead with the Warwick Farm pheasant shoot, putting both their lives in danger. Elsewhere, canny cop Ruth (Yasmin Paige) launches her own investigation into Cal’s death, stumbling upon some shock info about one of his friends. Hannah J Davies.

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