The autumnal reality staple is back! But despite some new Robbie-shaped additions, it’s never looked so flat, joyless and bored of its own existence The nights are drawing in, the kids are back at school and, like a turd that just won’t flush, The X Factor (Saturday, 8.25pm; Sunday, 8pm, ITV) is back on the telly. Mustering a sense of occasion for the arrival of this autumn staple is akin to throwing a party to celebrate a new train timetable. System improvements are habitually promised, although experience tells us we are in for more of the bloody same. This year’s opening auditions, which have exchanged last year’s rehearsal rooms for a cavernous arena, have so far yielded the customary combination of the shy and the eccentric, each performer venturing on to a stage that, judging by the sweat levels, is five times hotter than the sun. Meanwhile, viewers get to boggle afresh at the new judging panel, which includes One Directioner and Cowell protege Louis Tomlinson, who resembles a stoat trapped in a jam jar, and Robbie Williams, whose USP is being recognisable to those who haven’t bought a record since the first Adele LP. The mums and dads love Robbie, which is fortunate because he laps up adoration with the enthusiasm of a hotdog-eating champion demolishing a frankfurter. Pro tip: if you’re short on talent, just sing “Angels” and he will tearfully wave you through to the next round.
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