Skip to main content

TV tonight: our highlights for Monday 12th October

TV tonight Who Do You Think You Are?
(Image credit: Stephen Perry)

Who Do You Think You Are? is just one of the gems on today...

Who Do You Think You Are? returns, kicking off with Jodie Whittaker, John Bishop helps in a Great Whale Rescue, and BBC4 has A Celebration of Play for Today. Here's what you shouldn’t miss tonight. 

  • Our hand-selected recommendations for what's on TV tonight include three TV shows, a film, live sport and the latest trending need-to-binge-on-now box set 
  • Keep up to date with the latest soap spoiler storylines on TV tonight with our daily soap synopsis 
  • For more information about what’s on TV tonight see our TV Guide 

What's on TV tonight 

Our expert TV journalists have picked the best things on TV tonight... 

Best TV shows on TV tonight

John Bishop's Great Whale Rescue, 9pm, ITV

TV tonight John Bishop's Great Whale Rescue

John has a whale of a time

There are some sentences you don’t expect to come across. ‘Comedian John Bishop helps move two beluga whales from China to Iceland’ is one. But that’s exactly what happens in this two-part documentary. Animal lover John assists international experts as they relocate 12-year-old beluga whales  Little Grey and Little White from Shanghai to Iceland in a world-first! As moves go, this 6,000-mile journey by land, air and sea is more stressful than most. Tonight, the first attempt is cancelled and the second uncertain… In tomorrow night’s concluding instalment, however, this intense and admirable endeavour results in joyous triumph.

★★★★ ER

Who Do You Think You Are?, 9pm, BBC1

TV tonight Who Do You Think You Are?

Jodie Whittaker steps back in time

Doctor Who’s Jodie Whittaker is one of our most down-to-earth stars and the warmth and sense of wonder she conveys as she takes a peep into her family’s past is infectious. She begins by looking into a family story about her paternal grandmother Greta’s middle name and tries to solve the mystery surrounding the early life of Greta’s half-brother. Meanwhile, on Jodie’s maternal side of the family tree, there’s an emotional story concerning a miners’ strike in 1921. A riveting, thought-provoking watch. 

★★★★ CC

Drama Out of a Crisis: A Celebration of Play For Today, 9pm, BBC4

TV tonight A Celebration of Play for Today

Alison Steadman in Abigail’s Party

We often hear people talk of a ‘golden age’ of TV, which began with US series such as The West Wing and continues today. But it’s easy to forget that from 1970 to 1984, the BBC screened more than 300 Play for Today dramas by writers including Dennis Potter, Sir David Hare and Alan Bennett and directors such as Mike Leigh and Sir Alan Parker. Millions would watch these prime-time plays, which reflected the years of crisis Britain was going through. This documentary celebrates the 50th anniversary of Play for Today, looking at the new ground it broke and its lasting influence. A fascinating watch for anyone interested in TV drama. You can see plays Country tonight (10.30pm) and Abigail’s Party on Wednesday (9pm). 

★★★★★ JP

Best box set to watch on TV tonight

Rev, seasons one to three, BritBox

TV tonight Rev

Tom Hollander is the Rev

Us star Tom Hollander is equally engaging in this smartly written comedy as Anglican priest Adam Smallbone, who moves from a small rural parish to one in inner-city London. Olivia Colman co-stars as Adam’s solicitor wife, Alex.

Best film to watch on TV tonight

I'm Thinking of Ending Things, Netflix

TV tonight I'm Thinking of Ending Things

Beret mysterious… Jessie Buckley stars

Writer/director Charlie Kaufman’s adaptation of Iain Reid’s novel is a twisty, trippy and downright creepy delight. Jessie Buckley is Lucy, travelling with her boyfriend Jake (Jesse Plemons) to meet his parents on their remote farm. She’s ‘thinking of ending things’, but when a snowstorm means she’s trapped at the farm with Jake’s eccentric mother (Toni Collette) and father (David Thewlis), Lucy’s grasp on reality and time itself begins to radically unravel… 

Live sport

  • Snooker: English Open from 12.45pm, Eurosport 1
  • League Two Football: Bradford City v Harrogate Town 7.30pm (k-o 7.45pm), Sky Sports Football/NOW TV

Soaps on TV tonight

If you watch just one thing on TV tonight… 

Don't miss Who Do You Think You Are? on TV tonight – shocks about her past for Time Lord Jodie Whittaker

Not found anything you want to watch on TV tonight? Check out our TV Guide. 

Happy viewing!