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TV Tonight: our highlights for Sunday, January 9

TV tonight - Brenda Blethyn is back as the no-nonsense detective.
Brenda Blethyn is back as the no-nonsense detective. (Image credit: ITV)

On TV tonight, Brenda Blethyn returns as a new series of Vera begins on ITV, Sir David Attenborough's new series The Green Planet kicks off on BBC1 and thrilling drama The Tourist continues also BBC1. 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

Vera, 8pm, ITV

TV tonight The cast of Vera tackle a new case.

The cast of Vera tackle a new case.  (Image credit: ITV)

There is mystery, murder and a kidnapping as the popular crime drama returns with two new episodes. Tonight’s opener sees intrepid DCI Stanhope (Brenda Blethyn) and loyal colleague DS Healy (Kenny Doughty) called to a container port in Blyth to investigate a heist that’s gone awry. When a lorry believed to be full of TVs and laptops tears off at breakneck speed, two staff are injured, one critically. What exactly is in the container? Former Emmerdale stars Charlie Hardwick and Bill Ward guest star. 

★★★★ TL 

The Green Planet, 7pm, BBC1

TV tonight A sloth in the rainforest of Costa Rica.

A sloth in the rainforests of Costa Rica. (Image credit: BBC)

Anyone who thinks plants are boring, think again, as Sir David Attenborough’s magical five-parter proves that flora is just as compelling as fauna. This opener looks at plants in tropical rainforests, a ‘battlefield’ for rival species. One highlight is footage of the balsa tree, which produces spectacular flowers to lure the cute kinkajou to drink its nectar and spread its pollen. And Sir David also offers sobering insight into how rainforests are fragmenting. An enchanting, eye-opening watch.

★★★★★ CC

The Tourist, 9pm, BBC1

TV tonight Scene-stealer Ólafur Darri Ólafsson as Billy

Scene-stealer Ólafur Darri Ólafsson as Billy. (Image credit: BBC)

Well, the tension is ramping up in this superb thriller, and after last week’s revelation, The Man (Jamie Dornan) is hell-bent on getting Luci to reveal how she knows him. They soon have other concerns as DI Rogers wants to track them down, and creepy scene-stealing American Billy is on a mission of his own. Cop Helen is getting grief from awful fiancé Ethan – don’t marry him! – about her obsession with the case, but events take a shocking turn… 

★★★★★ CC

Best box set to watch on TV tonight

Around the World in 80 Days, iPlayer

TV tonight Phileas Fogg with Passepartout and Abigail Fix

Phileas Fogg with Passepartout and Abigail Fix. (Image credit: BBC)

Jules Verne’s classic novel has been adapted for the screen many times over the decades, yet this spectacular eight-part series will bring the story to a new generation of viewers. The action still takes place in 1872, yet David Tennant’s Phileas Fogg is more flawed and thoughtful than many of his predecessors, while tenacious journalist Abigail Fix (Leonie Benesch) is another refreshing addition to a tale that has something for all the family. The series began on Boxing Day with a double bill but now all eight episodes are available on iPlayer, for anyone who missed this gem over the frantic festive period. The cast is outstanding and the action slick and addictive as Fix, Fogg and his valet Passepartout (Ibrahim Koma) set off on their epic and thrilling journey. 

Best film to watch on TV tonight

The Sisters Brothers, 10pm, BBC2

TV tonight Joaquin Phoenix and John C Reilly co-star

Joaquin Phoenix and John C Reilly co-star. (Image credit: BBC)

French director Jacques Audiard’s first English-language film is this excellent adaptation of Patrick deWitt’s superb Western novel. It stars John C Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix as the titular siblings, hired assassins roaming the Old West in order to capture chemist Riz Ahmed, who is also being trailed by detective Jake Gyllenhaal. Truly offbeat, this is not your usual Western – and it’s all the better for it. 

Live Sport

  • FA Cup Football, West Ham United v Leeds United, 1.15pm (k-o 2.15pm), ITV
  • FA Cup Football, Nottingham Forest v Arsenal, 4.20pm (k-o 5.15pm), ITV
  • Snooker: The Masters, 1pm, BBC2

If you watch just one thing on TV tonight…

Don't miss Vera on TV tonight – another great case for DCI Stanhope to investigate.

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

Happy viewing!