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As US drama The First continues on C4, someone is about to be kicked off the mission to Mars, but who will be left behind?

Starring Oscar-winning actor Sean Penn (Milk, Mystic River) and Natascha McElhone, whose previous TV credits include Californication and Designated Survivor, the series follows a team of astronauts and scientists who are caught up in the race to become the first to reach Mars on a colonisation mission.

With Tom (Penn) officially reinstated as Commander, there’s one less seat in the rocket, and one of the current team of astronauts will be forced to forfeit their place on the journey to the red planet.

It sounds a bit like an intergalactic version of The X Factor’s Six Chair Challenge!

Tom (Sean Penn) has to oust someone from the mission to Mars

Tom’s got the unpleasant task of choosing who stays and who goes, and the decision about who gets the old heave-ho puts him at loggerheads with the previous commander, Kayla (Hannah Ware).

Tom knows the rational choice is to kick brilliant scientist Sadie off the mission, after previous training exercises revealed a lack of good judgement, but it was Kayla who convinced Sadie to become an astronaut in the first place.

Tormented by the thought of letting down Sadie, can Kayla get Tom to change his mind about who gets to go on the mission to Mars?

Meanwhile, as Tom plays Simon Cowell over his decision about who gets a seat in the rocket, there are bigger things afoot when a problem arises with the Mars Ascent Vehicle that may jeopardise the safety of the crew.

Elsewhere, Aiko hosts a dinner party to celebrate Sadie and Ollie’s wedding anniversary.

Melissa George, best known for her role as Angel in Aussie soap Home & Away back in the early 1990s, stars as Tom’s wife, Diane.

TV Times rating: ****