The best TV to watch tonight

Your indispensable guide to the best things on the box...

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Little Boy Blue

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9pm, ITV

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Everyone on a Liverpool estate knows who murdered 11-year-old Rhys Jones, the culprit’s name is daubed in graffiti on walls and echoes anonymously on the police tip-off line. 

But though everyone knows, no one will speak. The code of silence is absolute, nobody wants to suffer the ultimate dishonour of being a “grass”. It’s up to detective Dave Kelly (Stephen Graham) to breach these walls of obstruction built around the neighbourhood’s gangs. 

There’s intense fear of the thugs involved in Rhys’s killing and it takes painstaking police work to plough through the layers of lies and conspiracy as parents and family members close ranks. 

Meanwhile Rhys’s parents Mel and Steve (Sinead Keenan and Brian F O’Byrne) attend their son’s funeral and try to do something, anything, to fill the empty days without their beloved son. Little Boy Blue is almost too heartbreaking for words.

MasterChef

7.30pm, BBC1

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Fasten your aprons – it’s semi-finals week and the standard of cooking is very high. After five weeks, only nine amateur cooks remain in the competition and their challenge now is to create a dish that showcases their favourite ingredient. 

Gregg Wallace gets excited at the prospect of eating rhubarb (one of his all-time faves), but there are also dishes celebrating cauliflower, ginger, seaweed, beetroot, pork and sauternes wine. One amateur decides to impress by making two lamb dishes in the allotted 90 minutes. The eight that go through to the next round will be feeding the cast and crew of Holby City. No jokes about food poisoning, please.

Amsterdam: An Art Lover’s Guide

9pm, BBC4

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When you think of the Dutch capital, do you picture its infamous red light district or Unesco-listed canal district? Art historian Janina Ramirez and critic Alastair Sooke discover that Amsterdam has always embraced such apparent contradictions on this edifying cultural tour. Take those beautiful tall townhouses: their conservative façades hide huge gardens where merchants could let their imaginations run wild. 

As well as ticking off its most famous sights, they seek out lesser-known attractions including a master who painted the seedy side of 17th-century life, the world’s oldest surviving Jewish library and a brothel where anyone can experience what it’s like to sit in the window.

American Gods

Amazon Prime

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Fans of Neil Gaiman’s epic novel have waited years for a screen version. here it is, with iIan McShane and Strictly star Ricky Whittle in the cast. Those coming to it cold might find it’s more visual style than storytelling substance for now, but it looks amazing.

Saving Mr Banks

8.30pm, BBC1

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How did Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) finally convince author PL Travers (Emma Thompson) that her Mary Poppins character was safe in his hands after 20 years of stubborn refusal? This hugely entertaining, informative and ultimately moving comedy drama reveals that the cantankerous Travers hated cartoons, musicals and Dick Van Dyke, and had no intention of signing over the rights… until she faced bankruptcy. But woe betide Disney if her magical nanny suffered any image damage. Her continual interference caused enormous problems with the creative team, but this cultural clash proves sharply witty and poignant under John Lee Hancock’s spit spot direction. Evocative flashbacks to Travers’s troubled Australian childhood expose her melancholy, vulnerability and motives for fiercely protecting her character, clearly inspired by her no-nonsense Aunt Ellie (Rachel Griffiths). It’s a superlative confection of Hollywood dream and backstage legend, dominated by Thompson’s stunningly eccentric performance, and lovers of the 1964 family classic will find it irresistible.