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TV tonight: our highlights for Sunday 4th October

TV tonight Michael Palin: Travels of a Lifetime
(Image credit: BBC / Firecrest Films / Ryan McNamara)

Michael Palin: Travels of a Lifetime is just one of the gems on today...

Sir Michael Palin revisits some of his greatest travel shows, Top Gear has a new home on BBC1, and Sir David Attenborough reflects on his life and career in A Life on Our Planet. Here’s what you shouldn’t be missing 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 
  • 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

Top Gear, 8pm, BBC1

TV tonight Top Gear

Freddie, Chris and Paddy have a new home

Now parked on BBC1, Chris Harris, Paddy McGuinness and Freddie Flintoff begin this series with a challenge set in Paddy’s home town, Bolton. The trio must spend 24 hours in three company cars, and not set foot on the ground – which raises certain logistical challenges. To promote team bonding, each must drive round a go-kart track with the others as passengers, which is the perfect chance for the non-drivers to indulge in some bad behaviour. There’s even time for a spot of in-car karaoke in front of a crowd at a petrol station! 

★★★★ IM

Michael Palin: Travels of a Lifetime, 8pm, BBC2

TV tonight Michael Palin: Travels of a Lifetime

Sir Michael Palin looks back over his travels

Now, more than ever, is a time to reflect, we’re told. But if you don’t have the energy, tune into this lovely series instead! Tonight, Sir Michael Palin revisits the first of four of his most successful travel shows – 1989’s Around the World in 80 Days. Using diaries, tape recordings and archive footage, Sir Michael relives his best memories. With contributions from Sir David Attenborough and Joanna Lumley, this is a series worth celebrating. And if it makes you want to revisit the original show, it’s all on BBC iPlayer. 

★★★★ ER

David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet, Netflix

TV tonight David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet

Sir David has a stark warning for us

Sir David Attenborough reflects on his incredible career and warns that vital change is needed to prevent the human race destroying our planet, in his most personal documentary yet. When the iconic natural historian was born in 1926, two thirds of the Earth’s land was considered wilderness, but over the course of his lifetime, that figure has shrunk to 35 per cent. As he looks back at some of his most famous series, the facts and figures get more unsettling, until Sir David explains that unless we mend our ways, it won’t just be the Earth that needs saving, but mankind as well. 

★★★★ SMA

Best box set to watch on TV tonight

Schitt's Creek, seasons one to six, Netflix

TV tonight Schitt's Creek

Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara star

This infectiously funny comedy series swept the board at the Emmys recently, winning nine awards, including all four acting categories for its stars Eugene Levy, Dan Levy, Catherine O’Hara and Annie Murphy. It centres on the formerly wealthy Rose family, who are forced to relocate to Schitt’s Creek, a town they once purchased as a joke. Now living in a motel, they have to try to get to grips with life without money and learn how to live together as a family.

Best film to watch on TV tonight

Murder on the Orient Express, 8pm, C4

Tv tonight Murder on the Orient Express

It’s behind you! Sir Kenneth Branagh as detective Hercule Poirot

Although good to look at, stuffed with big-name actors and directed by Sir Kenneth Branagh (who stars as Hercule Poirot), this lavish take on Agatha Christie’s famous whodunit is a serviceable, rather than an exciting, affair. Branagh’s Belgian detective sports incredibly elaborate facial hair, but can’t generate the same intrigue from the bones of the film itself, which sees a passenger’s murder throw up a host of suspects including Dame Judi Dench, Penélope Cruz and Willem Dafoe. Death on the Nile, also directed by and starring Branagh, with co-stars including Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, is due for cinema release this month. 

Live sport

  • Athletics: London Marathon 10am, BBC1
  • Premier League Football: Wolves v Fulham 1pm (k-o 2pm), Sky Sports Premier League/NOW TV 
  • Premier League Football: Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur 4pm (k-o 4.30pm), Sky Sports Premier League/NOW TV 
  • Premier League Football: Aston Villa v Liverpool 7pm (k-o 7.15pm), Sky Sports Premier League/NOW TV 

If you watch just one thing on TV tonight… 

Don't miss Michael Palin: Travels of a Lifetime on TV tonight – the original travelogue, and the best

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

Happy viewing!