IN the past I've written about the lack of originality in the autumn television schedules.

The run up to Christmas has traditionally been the time many turn to TV for escapism, as the dark nights set in, and last year I slammed the schedules for unoriginality.

But this year I've been really impressed with the new programmes.

BBC drama has been grabbing all the headlines - the impressive Bodyguard recording some well deserved fantastic ratings.

The one programme that has really caught my attention though has been a reality show that is offering something completely different.

Channel 4's The Circle is a fascinating watch, a gameshow where the contestants never meet each other.

The eight participants live in the same apartment block but only communicate with each other through a social media app.

The contestants regularly rate each other, with the winner being the most popular at the end of the series who wins the £50,000 prize.

But the twist is that participants can pretend to be different versions of themselves to become popular, or even the ultimate catfish of being a completely different person altogether.

It has led to one participant pretending to be his girlfriend, a gay man hiding his sexuality and a woman hiding the fact she is a mum with her six-month-old daughter even living in the apartment with her.

Monday's episode saw a 22-year-old woman getting voted off the show as her character - a 65-year-old granddad - was guessed correctly to be a fake by other players.

The show does more than entertain, it holds a mirror to the social media-driven world we now live in, where people are addicted to gaining followers and being Instagram perfect.

It reminds me of the early days of Big Brother, a social experiment that raises key issues about what we choose to post and broadcast on social media platforms, and whether people are who they say they are.

I have heard that the ratings have been low for the series but it deserves more viewers as an original concept, raising an important point about modern life while also being entertaining.

These are exactly the kind of shows programme makers should be putting on our screens, taking a chance on something fresh and new.