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TV tonight: our highlights for Tuesday 21st July

TV tonight Holby City
(Image credit: BBC/Kieron McCarron)

Holby City is just one of the gems on today...

A familiar face returns to Holby tonight, meet The Real Eastenders on C4, and Giles and Monica see what Life Beyond the Lobby is like in another Amazing Hotel. Here’s what you shouldn’t miss on TV 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

The Real Eastenders, 10pm, C4

TV tonight The Real EastEnders

Young East Ender Willow

A moving look at childhood innocence, this follows youngsters growing up on council estates on the Isle of Dogs in London’s East End. Once a booming maritime hub, the docks are long gone, but that hasn’t thwarted the hopes and dreams of young East Enders, such as 12-year-old Leslie who wants to be an electrician, as well as a part-time rapper and gamer. Meanwhile, nine-year-old Willow dreams of moving to Essex for a perfect life. Will these sixth-generation Islanders be able to leave their roots behind? 

★★★ RF

Holby City, 8pm, BBC1

Dirty Den. Bobby Ewing. Harold Bishop. Soaps have a long history of bringing characters back from the dead and Holby follows suit tonight as show favourite Raf (Joe McFadden) returns… as a ghost! As Essie struggles to come to terms with terminal cancer, Raf turns up to offer support when she needs him the most. Can he help her face her fears? It’s been two years since Raf met his maker after being shot dead by Hanssen’s gun-wielding son Fredrik but it’s like he’s never been away. And he offers a glimmer of light in what’s becoming a very dark time for Essie…

★★★★ VW

Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby, 8pm, BBC2

TV tonight Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby

Is Giles distracted by the thought of all that whisky?

We can’t have Giles Coren and Monica Galetti having too much fun as they swan about in posh hotels, so this week Giles is asked to replace toilet seats while Monica shovels manure. Their destination is former Victorian hunting lodge The Torridon – a five-star hotel on the shore of a Scottish loch. There’s no local pub, but there is a well-stocked hotel bar with a different whisky for every day of the year! Choose carefully, though, as the priciest costs more than £100 for a single shot. Cheers! 

★★★ IM

Best box set to watch 

Mum, seasons 1-3, BritBox

TV tonight Mum

Lesley Manville in Mum

Lesley Manville is sublime as the recently widowed Cathy – quietly coping with her grief and rediscovering herself in the face of her selfish and insensitive family. Meanwhile, her late husband’s best friend Michael (Peter Mullan) adores her from afar in a poignantly funny comedy.

Best film to watch on TV tonight

Love Actually, 10pm, Channel 5

TV tonight Love Actually

Martine McCutcheon stars

This romantic ensemble comedy has all the makings of being over-sentimental tosh, but thanks to the writing and the performances, it’s surprisingly good. It tells eight intertwining love stories, from the sublime – widower Liam Neeson coping with his child’s first love – to the ridiculous – Prime Minister Hugh Grant falling for tea-girl Martine McCutcheon.

Live sport

  • Premier League Football: Watford v Manchester City 5.30pm (k-o 6pm), Sky Sports Premiere League, Sky One, Pick
  • Premier League Football: Aston Villa v Arsenal 8pm (k-o 8.15pm), Sky Sports Premier League

Soaps on TV tonight

If you watch just one thing on TV tonight… 

Don't miss Holby City on TV tonight – a ghost from Holby past…

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

Happy viewing!