The best TV to watch tonight

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

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In the Dark

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9pm, BBC1

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New series. As DI Helen Weeks grapples apprehensively with pregnancy, she is compelled to return to her loathed rural home town of Polesford, Derbyshire, with her partner and fellow detective Paul Hopkins. Two girls have been abducted and the man arrested is the husband of Helen’s childhood best friend Linda Bates, who has been drawn into the centre of a media storm, while the local police force is under enormous pressure to get their man. But is he guilty? Crime drama adapted by Danny Brocklehurst from Mark Billingham’s books, starring MyAnna Buring.

Hospital

9pm, BBC2

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How Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust is pushing the boundaries of what is possible technologically, at a time when the Trust has a planned annual deficit of £41 million and savings need to be made across the board. Meanwhile, at Charing Cross Hospital, site of the Trust’s specialist neurosurgery department, 28-year-old former dancer Ben needs an operation to remove a recurrent brain tumour, and at Hammersmith, 23-year-old primary school teacher Rosa has an infection on her mitral valve called endocarditis. Last in the series.

First Dates

10pm, Channel 4

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Over the past few series of First Dates, the waiters have become central to the show as they muck around, discuss their customers and reveal snippets about their own romantic lives. So it’s quite a thrill when this week French maître d’ Fred lets CiCi finish early to go on a date of her own. Her colleague’s reactions are excellent. 

Meanwhile Mark, 40, comes to the restaurant hoping to meet a high-maintenance female (give him my number, Channel 4). He gets Gilly, 38, who is so high maintenance she rivals the Wags at the 2006 World Cup. What she really wants, though, is a man to appreciate her for more than her fake tan.

Upstate Purgatory

BBC3

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A remand facility in Albany, NY, is the location for a piercingly sad documentary. Brief interviews with the inmates reveal them to be flawed, lost souls, often struggling to recover from abusive or crime-tainted upbringings. For some, the chance to go straight has gone.

Ray

9pm, Sony Movie Channel

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Sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll (or, in Ray Charles’s case, soul, gospel, blues and even a little bit of country) are the basic ingredients for a biopic of just about any popular singer from the last 50 years or so. Childhood poverty and tragedy are standard extras, and racial prejudice is not unfamiliar territory. Throw in blindness and you are in danger of producing an indigestible mixture of cliché and sentimentality. Taylor Hackford’s movie avoids that trap, beginning with the 17-year-old Ray setting out in search of fame and fortune and ending with him established as one of America’s most successful entertainers. Flashbacks fill in the gaps. Charles emerges as a hugely original talent (his recordings are used throughout the film) and a sympathetic human being, despite his heroin addiction and serial adultery. This is thanks to the assured script and direction, and to star Jamie Foxx – his Ray is not just an uncanny impersonation, but a great performance.