TV tonight: our highlights for Thursday 17th September

TV tonight Saving Lives at Sea
(Image credit: BBC/Blast!/Nathan Williams/RNLI)

Saving Lives at Sea is just one of the gems on today...

Saving Lives at Sea is back with more heroic tales, ITV tells us about The Real 'Des': The Dennis Nilsen Story, and Channel 5 show us How to Add 25K to Your Home. Here’s what you shouldn’t miss on TV tonight. 

  • Our hand-selected recommendations for what's on TV tonight include three TV shows, live sport, a film 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

The Real 'Des': The Dennis Nilsen Story, 9pm, ITV

TV tonight The Real 'Des': The Dennis Nilsen Story:

Nilsen at the time of his arrest in 1983

If you’ve been following the three-part drama Des earlier this week, starring David Tennant as Dennis Nilsen, this documentary takes a closer look at the real-life serial killer and includes an interview he gave to ITV while in prison in 1992. Criminologist David Wilson, who corresponded with Nilsen for many years, is also a contributor. 

★★ JP

Saving Lives at Sea, 8pm, BBC2

TV tonight Saving Lives at Sea

Gavin Steedon, one of the Swanage crew

It’s sobering when you stop to think that the volunteers of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution are unpaid and not only give up their free time but risk their lives when they set out to rescue those in difficulty at sea. Tonight sees the start of a new run of the series following the volunteers at some of the 238 RNLI stations across the UK and Ireland. In Swanage, brothers Matt and Gavin race to help some novice paddleboarders, while in Blackpool, a volunteer’s wedding day is interrupted by an urgent call-out. 

★★★★ JP

How to Add 20K to Your Home, 9pm, Channel 5

TV tonight How to Add 20K to Your Home

Scarlette Douglas

While it would be very nice to be able to add £20,000 to the value of your house, as many of us are spending more time at home at the moment, anything that spruces it up a bit would be most welcome. Experts including Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and Scarlette Douglas share their tips. 

★★★ JP

Best box set to watch 

Friday Night Dinner, seasons 1-6, All 4

TV tonight Friday Night Dinner

Meet the Goodmans

This quirky comedy has a great ensemble cast and gets better the more you watch. Tamsin Greig is the wacky mother preparing the traditional Jewish Friday night dinner for her equally idiosyncratic family – her hubby (Paul Ritter) and sons (Simon Bird and Tom Rosenthal).

Best film to watch on TV tonight

Bait, 11.20pm, Film4

TV tonight Bait

Edward Rowe as a Cornish fisherman

Using a wind-up Bolex camera for an entire movie could be seen as hipster affectation, but director Mark Jenkin uses it to stunning effect. The grainy black-and-white footage has an ageless appearance, but this is a modern tale of rich second-homers invading rural villages. We follow a Cornish fisherman without a boat thanks to a bust-up with his brother, whose main bone of contention lies with a posh Londoner (Simon Shepherd) who bought their childhood home. A superb film that shows Jenkin to be a filmmaker of considerable craft – and won him an Outstanding Debut BAFTA. 

Live sport

  • Golf: US Open 12.30pm, Sky Sports Golf

Soaps on TV tonight

If you watch just one thing on TV tonight… 

Don't miss Saving Lives at Sea on TV tonight – nail-biting real-life drama

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

Happy viewing!