The best TV to watch tonight

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

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Ripper Street

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9pm, BBC2

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Reid and Jackson have a morbid plan to smoke serial killer Nathaniel Dove out of hiding, but Shine is on their trail and will stop at nothing to track them down, including the brutal intimidation of whoever he thinks might be protecting them. Reid also has other problems of his own when the papers portray him as a murderous vigilante, leading to his daughter’s opinion of him being shattered. Meanwhile, Susan enlists the help of trusted friends in the search for her young son – but not without grave risk to their safety.

24 Hours in Police Custody

9pm, Channel 4

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A man is punched hard on the head in a busy Luton pub and falls flat to the floor. He lies there unconscious for 40 minutes with regulars walking around him until an ambulance is called.

But why the delay? And why weren’t the police alerted, wonder the detectives who take on the case. This soon becomes apparent when officers try to interview pub staff, including the landlord, who’s previously ripped down the POLICE crime scene tape and, when threatened with arrest, shouted, “Then arrest me, I f*****g dare you.”

There’s an impenetrable wall of silence. No one can name the man who hit the victim. “You get the feeling that something’s not right,” says a detective, with admirable understatement. Then police find CCTV footage…

It’s another enthralling episode of an excellent series, and one with a stunning postscript.

Fearless

9pm, ITV

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Passionate, committed human rights lawyer Emma Banville is still a bit wobbly after her house was raided last week. (Who knew extreme sanctimoniousness was a crime?)

But she can’t be too shocked for too long, there’s an innocent man who must be exonerated of the most heinous crime. Though her colleagues at the right-on law firm where she works think Emma (Helen McCrory) is making a big mistake as she seeks the exhumation of a murdered girl. 

Even Emma’s mum (Kika Markham) isn’t happy with her, but Emma won’t be diverted: “Do you want me to stop doing what I believe in, Mum?” It’s the constant cry of TV mavericks through the ages.

Preacher

Amazon Prime

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American Gods is over for now, but Amazon’s other violent, visually splendid comic-book dramatisation is back for a second run, updating weekly and extended this year to 13 episodes. Dominic Cooper has a whale of a time as the hero, a very persuasive clergyman.

Joe

11.15pm, Film4

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In a rural Texas town where everyone knows everybody all too well, a teenager (Tye Sheridan) finds his loyalties torn between his abusive alcoholic father Wade (Gary Poulter) and hard-but-fair Joe (Nicolas Cage) who offers the boy both employment and guidance, even though Joe is hardly the most solid citizen himself. This evocative, loose-limbed film marks a very welcome return to form for Cage, who keeps his mannerisms in check while still vividly evoking a man driven by cruel demons and guided by angels. The rest of the cast are just as good, from fast-rising young star Sheridan to the indelible Poulter, a homeless man director Green and the casting agents discovered on the streets of Austin, who died shortly after the film was made. Before he went on to make junk food like Pineapple Express and Your Highness, Green built his early career on coaxing astonishing performances from non-professionals, and he outdoes himself here with this raw, sucker-punch of a movie.