The best TV to watch tonight

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

137588.36d1fa7a-0ec5-4c42-a14f-5fa0faccead3

Little Boy Blue

Advertisement

9pm, ITV

137582.1c2b63fd-8f6b-4492-ad09-f9043de0fc15

The collision of two diametrically opposite worlds is never more apparent than when 11-year-old Rhys Jones’s murderer goes on trial. Rhys’s kind, polite parents sit in court, listening to the most harrowing evidence with all the dignity they can muster, while their son’s killer and his associates smirk, giggle, chat and throw paper aeroplanes in the dock. When they are convicted one of them yells, “All this for some f***ing kid.”

Yet it’s Rhys’s mother Mel (Sinéad Keenan, who will break your heart) who is given a message from the judge: if she can’t stop crying can she please leave the court – her tears might influence the jury.

After the verdicts, Jeff Pope’s piercingly sad fact-based drama keeps the focus on Rhys’s parents Mel and Steve whose marriage is ruptured. Why doesn’t she go back to work, to feel normal again, he asks her. “Because I don’t want to feel normal!” comes the angry reply.

Ivanka Trump: America’s Real First Lady?

9pm, Channel 4

137582.1c2b63fd-8f6b-4492-ad09-f9043de0fc15

There’s a Saturday Night Live sketch we see in this Matt Frei profile, featuring a spoof advert (starring Scarlett Johansson) for a new Ivanka Trump fragrance called Complicit. The joke was that while Democrats hoped Ivanka might be a moderating voice in her father’s White House, she may be no more than a fig leaf, an accessory in every sense. Frei can’t be sure either way, but he deftly charts her rise (amid the curious absence of Melania) to be one of the most influential women in the world – and a possible future president herself. America does love a dynasty.

Doctor in the House

9pm, BBC1

137581.e1655118-0b50-43ec-8d46-79cd311cee05

Most of us only get ten-minute appointments with our GP, so how brilliant would it be to have a doctor available to you 24 hours a day? Dr Rangan Chatterjee returns to spend time with eight different people to see whether he can solve their medical problems, not with drugs but with a lifestyle change. He’s big on getting to the root of the problem rather than just treating the symptoms. 

Mum Gemma suffers from excruciating and frequent cluster headaches – her young family constantly live with the horrendous sounds of her screams and whimpers. Elsewhere para-athlete Gary is worried the damage he’s doing to his shoulders by his intense training will force him into a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Very few viewers will share their particular medical issues but this demonstrates that popping a pill isn’t always the answer. 

American Gods

Netflix

137583.f565b73c-699d-4a89-a0f5-52d1ff271c72

Don’t worry, we have no real idea what’s going on here, either. What’s virtually undeniable is that this is about as bold and original as TV drama’s ever been: every scene is luscious, compelling and confounding. This week, Ian McShane’s Wednesday decides to make it snow.

Philadelphia

11.15pm, Film4

137579.e72f9882-62a1-47ad-a871-daef27be158d

Advertisement

This affecting drama was the first major Hollywood movie about Aids, and it won Tom Hanks his (deserved) first best actor Oscar. Hanks plays gay lawyer Andrew Beckett, who takes his powerful employers to court for sacking him after they discover he is suffering from an Aids-related illness. The company bigwigs (including Jason Robards in a reptilian portrayal of intolerance thinly masked by bluff camaraderie) claim he was dismissed for incompetence. Beckett’s counsel is wheeler-dealer Joe Miller (Denzel Washington), whose homophobia is counter-balanced by his nose for a good case and essential sense of fair play. Hanks portrays the ravaged, dying Beckett as a disabled everyman whose life has lessons for all of us, but does not disconnect the character from his cause. His crescendo of praise for an opera aria is a tour de force of close-up acting and a stunning scene of life-affirming passion.