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TV Tonight: our highlights for Sunday, Dec. 19

David Oyelowo and Gugu Mbatha-Raw star in this dark thriller.
David Oyelowo and Gugu Mbatha-Raw star in this dark thriller. (Image credit: BBC)

On TV tonight, the brilliant David Oyelowo and Gugu Mbatha-Raw star in sinister new drama The Girl Before on BBC1, the big hitters of the sporting world get together for BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2021, also on BBC1 and over on ITV Alan Carr hosts The Royal Variety Performance. 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 Girl Before, 9pm, BBC1

TV tonight David Oyelowo as Edward.

David Oyelowo as Edward. (Image credit: BBC)

There’s not a bauble in sight in this new four-part thriller airing nightly this week. David Oyelowo stars as Edward, an architect with sinister secrets. He lets out his impressive minimalist house to Jane (Gugu Mbatha-Raw). However, the tenancy comes with lots of rules. Jane later makes a discovery about the death of previous occupant Emma who lived there with her boyfriend (played by former EastEnders stars Jessica Plummer and Ben Hardy). An atmospheric chiller with more edges than a razor-wire fence. 

★★★★★ ER

BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2021, 6.45pm, BBC1

TV tonight Hosts Gabby, Alex, Gary and Clare

Hosts Gabby, Alex, Gary and Clare. (Image credit: BBC)

Celebrate the country’s top sportsmen, women and teams as they gather at Media City, Salford, for the annual event. Standout stars of 2021 include tennis star Emma Raducanu and her shock win at the the US Open, plus diver Tom Daley, who finally got an Olympic gold along with his 10m synchro partner Matty Lee. Strictly’s Adam Peaty won two Olympic golds, and the England football team made it all the way to the Euros final. The squad had its fair share of heroes, including Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling, but it was manager Gareth Southgate who was lifted to national treasure status. The competition for SPOTY has never been so fierce… 

★★★★ NC

The Royal Variety Performance, 7.20pm, ITV

TV tonight Alan Carr hosts.

Alan Carr hosts. (Image credit: ITV)

Alan Carr is the host of this year’s star-studded event, which comes from London’s Royal Albert Hall. Among the performers are music stars Ed Sheeran, Anne-Marie, Rod Stewart, James Blunt and the cast of Matilda the Musical, as well as some comedy turns from Bill Bailey, Josh Widdicombe and 2021 Strictly celeb Judi Love. We’ll also be treated to a very special performance of hit song This Is Me

★★★★ HD

Best box set to watch on TV tonight

The Witcher, season 2, Netflix

TV tonight monster-hunter Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill)

Monster-hunter Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill). (Image credit: Netflix)

The epic fantasy show returns for a second series, picking up following the devastating Battle of Sodden. With monster-hunter Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill) grieving the loss of Yennefer, he’s forced to take Princess Cirilla (Freya Allan) to his childhood home of Kaer Morhen to protect her from the Continent’s kings, elves, humans and demons striving for supremacy, as well as from her own strange powers of foresight. Look out for a cracking new guest cast, including Simon Callow and Silent Witness star Liz Carr as eccentric legal team Codringher and Fenn, who may be able to reveal something about Cirilla’s mysterious bloodline.

Best film to watch on TV tonight

Little Women, Netflix

TV tonight The little women in a classic tale

The little women in a classic tale. (Image credit: Netflix)

It may have been filmed countless times before, but Greta Gerwig’s take on this classic is one for the ages. The actor-turned-director is greatly helped by a pitch-perfect cast portraying the rumbustious March sisters – Florence Pugh (Amy), Emma Watson (Meg), Eliza Scanlen (Beth) and Saoirse Ronan as feisty Jo. They’re joined by Laura Dern as their mother and Meryl Streep as their aunt in a version that zips along with warmth and empathy. Gerwig has a lightness of touch, creating a film of pure charm.

Live Sport

  • Equestrian, London International Horse Show, 2.20pm, BBC2
  • Premier League, Newcastle United v Manchester City, 2pm (k-o 2.00pm), Sky Sports Main Event/NOW
  • Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool, 4.15pm (k-o 4.30pm), Sky Sports Main Event/NOW
  • Cricket, The Ashes, 3.30am, BT Sport 1

If you watch just one thing on TV tonight…

Don't miss The Girl Before on TV tonight – the lead actors are fabulous in this dark drama shown over four-nights. 

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

Happy viewing!