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TV tonight: our highlights for Friday 24th April

Kerry Godliman and Ricky Gervais
(Image credit: Ray Burmiston)

Ricky Gervais is back with another series of After Life…

The award-winning After Life returns with Ricky Gervais at the helm, Michelle Dockery and Chris Evans in powerful new drama Defending Jacob, and Tony Robinson is in the far east of Russia. Here’s what you shouldn’t miss on TV tonight. 

  • Our hand-selected recommendations for what's on TV tonight include five TV shows, 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

Around the World by Train, 9pm, Channel 5

Tony Robinson in Vladivostok

It's vladi-cold in Vladivostok!

For his penultimate train journey Tony Robinson is in Russia. He's riding the iconic Trans-Siberian, the longest railway line in the world. He begins in Vladivostok. It's at the far east of this vast country, where he pops into a local cafe for a cuppa, only to be served by Barry from Bolton who’s lived there for 22 years. After a bumpy overnight journey on the train he stops at Khabarovsk to admire the frozen River Amur and have dinner with a local family, complete with lashings of home-brewed vodka. His next stop is Yekaterinburg, at the foot of the Ural Mountains. Here he gets a history lesson in Russia’s brutal past, before arriving in Moscow to see how the other half lives. His epic journey ends in Finland’s capital Helsinki. ★★★ JL


After Life, Netflix

Rickie Gervais and Penelope Wilton

A lighthearted moment for Tony and Anne

Ricky Gervais’s warm-hearted black comedy returns with six new episodes today, to the delight of viewers who cried tears of laughter and sadness at last year’s first series. Despite his best efforts, Tony (Ricky) is still struggling with the death of his wife and falls further into depression this time out, in a show that blends comedy and tragedy in eye-wateringly broad strokes. A glittering support cast provides much of the humour once again, with Penelope Wilton (Downton Abbey) and David Bradley (Game of Thrones) on fine form. And keep an eye out for Annette Crosbie playing against type as a foul-mouthed centurion in the opening episode! ★★★★ SMA


Defending Jacob, Apple TV+

Chris Evans, Michelle Dockery and Jaeden Martell

Chris Evans, Michelle Dockery and Jaeden Martell

A peaceful Massachusetts community is rocked by a monstrous crime in this gripping drama starring Michelle Dockery and Chris Evans. Based on William Landay’s bestselling novel, it follows assistant DA Andy Barber (Chris), whose son Jacob is accused of killing his classmate – leaving Andy torn between his son and the law. The first three episodes are released today, with the other five episodes following weekly. ★★★★ RM


Hubble: The Wonders of Space, 9pm, BBC2

The Hubble space station

Flying high: The Hubble space station in orbit

The Hubble Space Telescope was launched 30 years ago and has sat in a low orbit ever since, sending amazing pictures of the cosmos back to Earth –more than 1.5 million of them. This one-off celebrates a remarkable human achievement, and the people who made it possible. ★★★★ SM


Gogglebox, 9pm, C4

Jenny and Lee

Life in lockdown with Jenny and Lee

Isolation and social distancing have meant inevitable changes to a lot of our favourite shows – some work better than others! Have I Got News for You suffers without an audience, but on Saturday Kitchen Matt Tebbutt seems to thrive on extra live chaos. Gogglebox has been managing admirably and let’s hope it continues to do so. Watching Jenny and Lee and co cope with their own lockdown is one of our highlights of the week. ★★★★ JP


Best box set to watch 

Snowfall, BBC iPlayer

Damson Idris

Franklin is caught in the crack crossfire

Set in LA in 1983, this US drama follows the first crack cocaine epidemic to sweep through the city, and the ensuing impact, via the stories of a group of characters whose lives are all fated to intertwine through drugs. British actor Damson Idris plays ambitious 19-year-old drug dealer Franklin Saint, who deals to rich school kids. Three series are available with a fourth in the pipeline.


Best film to watch on TV tonight

Get Out, 9pm, Film4

Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams

Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams star in this breakout horror

Who would have thought that Jordan Peele, one half of comedy duo Key & Peele, would create this, one of the best chillers in recent years? The fact that it’s also a devastating social critique just further highlights Peele’s considerable skills. Brit Daniel Kaluuya plays an African-American invited to spend the weekend at the family home of his white girlfriend (Allison Williams). Although brimming with friendliness and as PC as could be, there is something off about her parents. And that feeling is only reinforced when Kaluuya meets their friends. Smart, shocking and increasingly scary, it’s one of the important films of 2017.


If you watch just one thing on TV tonight… 

Don't miss the new series of Ricky Gervais's bittersweet After Life.

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

Happy viewing!