TV Tonight: our highlights for Sunday, September 18 2022

Charlene McKenna, James Nesbitt and Victoria Smurfit
Charlene McKenna, James Nesbitt and Victoria Smurfit. (Image credit: BBC)

On TV tonight, the gritty James Nesbitt crime drama Bloodlands returns for a second series on BBC One, the stunning Frozen Planet II continues also on BBC One and Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins continues on C4. A new series Colin & Justin's Hotel Hell checks in to Channel 5 and drama Ridley comes to a close on ITV. 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, 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

*Please note that these TV shows are subject to change — we will update this page if any alterations should be made to the TV schedules.*

Bloodlands, season 2, 9.05 pm, BBC One

James Nesbitt stars.

James Nesbitt stars. (Image credit: BBC)

The first series of this Northern Irish drama - produced by Line of Duty’s Jed Mercurio - ended on an almighty cliffhanger when troubled DCI Tom Brannick (James Nesbitt) was revealed as Goliath, a serial killer who had evaded capture during the Troubles. As the thriller returns, more about Brannick’s past is revealed before the action picks up in the present day with Brannick and sidekick DS Niamh McGovern (Charlene McKenna) probing the death of a very "creative" accountant. The accountant’s widow, Olivia (Marcella’s Victoria Smurfit), appears distraught - but is she everything she seems? We have a feeling Brannick is about to find out... 

★★★★ VW

Frozen Planet II, 8.05 pm, BBC One

Polar bears feature in this icy series.

Polar bears feature in this icy series.  (Image credit: BBC)

Just when you thought wildlife documentaries had exhausted the cute factor, this week’s episode of Frozen Planet II introduces us to a baby harp seal taking its first swim. And there’s also polar bear cubs taking their first steps on the sea ice. But, as you can imagine, there’s also a fair amount of peril and tragedy, as we see seal pups swept into the water and emaciated beluga whales trapped in an ice hole. The animals that survive in the Arctic Ocean are certainly a resilient lot, but here we see how climate change is stacking the odds against them. 

★★★★★ NH

Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins, season 4, 9.05 pm, C4

Can Dwain pass the test?

Can Dwain pass the test?  (Image credit: C4)

Almost 20 years ago, athlete Dwain Chambers took performance-enhancing drugs and was suspended from his sport. That decision has haunted him ever since and is one of the reasons why he finds himself in the desert now, determined to prove, as he says, ‘There is always life after mistakes.’ This episode, which is all about resilience, also focuses on the ultra-competitive Pritchard brothers, AJ and Curtis. They push each other in everything that they do, but as they are tested to their limits, is that rivalry a help or a hindrance? 

★★★★ JL

Colin & Justin's Hotel Hell, 9 pm, Channel 5

Justin and Colin in front of their hotel.

Justin and Colin in front of their hotel. (Image credit: Channel 5)

There was a time when Scottish interior designers Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan were everywhere. Their shows, such as How Not to Decorate, proved so popular the couple were flooded with work offers, prompting a move to Canada in 2008. Now, they’re back on our UK screens attempting to renovate and run a 22-bedroom hotel on the coast of Nova Scotia. Having ploughed all their savings into it, the stakes are high and, as this first episode proves, they are plagued with setbacks. Storms, supply issues, spiralling costs; we’ve never seen easy-going Colin so raging! 

★★★★ TL

Ridley, 8 pm, ITV

Adrian Dunbar stars.

Adrian Dunbar stars. (Image credit: ITV)

In the final episode of the series, Adrian Dunbar’s Ridley makes a shocking discovery linking the death of a man who fell from a balcony with the killing of his own family. Also starring Bronagh Waugh as DI Carol Farman and Julie Graham as jazz bar owner Annie Marling. 

★★★ JL

Best box set to watch on TV tonight

Simon Reeve's South America, BBC iPlayer

Simon with soldiers from the French Foreign Legion

Simon with soldiers from the French Foreign Legion. (Image credit: BBC)

The adventurer is in South America to complete an epic 4000-mile trip from Peru to Paraguay with five new episodes. As usual Reeve takes on a journey that isn’t for the fainthearted, as he meets refugees, warlords and forgotten tribes. His new journey starts in the Guiana Shield, an area of pristine rainforest that spreads through Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana, which is being ravaged by the illegal gold mining trade. There, he visits a remote Wild West-style mining town where everything is paid for in gold, joins a former rebel fighter at his gold mine in the Suriname jungle and even raids an illegal mine with the French Foreign Legion. He also visits Brazil, Peru, Bolivia and Chile, finding extraordinary stories and meeting remarkable people along the way. Epic stuff. 

Best film to watch on TV tonight

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, 11 pm, C4

Director Peter Jackson picks up the pace with the second instalment of the trilogy – and so do Martin Freeman’s hero Bilbo Baggins and his companions as the quest to reclaim a lost dwarf kingdom gathers momentum and they steel themselves for an encounter with dragon Smaug, voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch. Ian McKellen’s wizard Gandalf has his own share of encounters and the implacable Gollum (Andy Serkis) is lurking in the shadows.

Live Sport

  • Premiership Rugby Union, Worcester Warriors vs Exeter Chiefs, 2 pm (k-o 3 pm), BT Sport 1

If you watch just one thing on TV tonight…

Don't miss Bloodlands on TV tonight — James Nesbitt is great in this gripping second series. 

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

Happy viewing!

Joanne Lowles
Freelance writer and editor

Joanne Lowles has been writing about TV since 2002. After graduating from Cardiff University with a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism, she worked for All About Soap magazine covering the ups and downs of life on the cobbles, the square and the Dales. 

Next came nearly 10 years at TV Times magazine as a writer and then deputy features editor. Here she spent many happy days interviewing the biggest names in entertainment and visiting the sets of some of our most popular shows including Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife and Strictly Come Dancing

With a love of nature and wildlife she’s also interviewed the leading experts in this area including David Attenborough, Chris Packham and Steve Backshall. She’s also travelled the world visiting Mongolia, Canada and South Africa to see how the best in the business make the most brilliant natural history documentaries. 

Freelance since 2013, she is now is a digital writer and editor for What to Watch, previews the best on the box for TV Times mag each week and loves being constantly surprised, entertained and informed by the amazing TV that she is lucky enough to watch.