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TV Tonight: our highlights for Thursday, August 19

Michael Gould and Lesley Manville as struggling husband and wife John and Maria.
Michael Gould and Lesley Manville as struggling husband and wife John and Maria. (Image credit: C4)

On TV tonight, the brilliant Lesley Manville stars in C4's I Am Maria, Alex Polizzi and her mum Olga begin to regret buying their new hotel in Alex Polizzi: My Hotel Nightmare on Channel 5 and returning to C4 is Joe Lycett's Got Your Back. 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

I Am Maria, 9pm, C4

TV tonight Lesley Manville

Lesley Manville as Maria in the final instalment of the I Am… trilogy.  (Image credit: C4)

There are some raw and passionate marital arguments, which make for slightly uncomfortable viewing, in the final story in C4’s female-led anthology series. Lesley Manville plays Maria, whose 60th birthday marks a crossroads in her life and her relationship. Feeling stifled after 31 years raising a family and holding down a career, she and her husband John (Darkest Hour’s Michael Gould) are struggling sexually and are at loggerheads about what they want out of life now their children have grown. But as the distance between them grows into a chasm, Maria decides to make some brave choices about her future. 

★★★★★ HD

Alex Polizzi: My Hotel Nightmare, 9pm, Channel 5

TV tonight Mother and daughter Olga and Alex.

Can Alex and her mother Olga find a way to work together? (Image credit: Channel 5)

There are hoteliers across the country who shiver when they hear the name Alex Polizzi. Well, they should meet her mum Olga! As Alex does her best to keep work moving on the 37-bed hotel they’ve bought, Olga spends her time terrifying the builders and disagreeing with Alex’s decisions. The cracks in the walls are bigger than ever, as are the cracks in their mother/daughter relationship. 

★★★★ JL

Joe Lycett's Got Your Back, 8pm, C4

TV tonight Joe Lycett kicks off the new series of his consumer justice show.

Joe Lycett kicks off the new series of his consumer justice show. (Image credit: C4)

When Joe Lycett says he’s going to do something, ‘madder and dafter’ than ever before, you know he’s going big! As his consumer justice show returns for a third series, the comedian takes on coloured plastic bottles, which can’t be recycled. The drinks brand Yop is his target and he has a cunning plan to make the big American company that owns it sit up and take notice. His co-host Sophie Duker takes on a low-traffic zone in Croydon that’s costing locals hundreds in controversial fines, and people’s champion Mark Silcox tests once and for all which is better: Coca-Cola or Pepsi? 

★★★ JL

Best box set to watch on TV tonight

Modern Love, Amazon Prime Video

TV tonight Tobias Menzies and Sophie Okonedo

Tobias Menzies and Sophie Okonedo star. (Image credit: Amazon Prime)

Prepare your heartstrings to be well and truly tugged as this anthology show about love in its many different guises returns for a second series of eight stand-alone short films. Stars such as Kit Harington, Sophie Okonedo and Tobias Menzies explore a range of relationships in tales full of happiness and heartbreak. The sentimentality is delivered in thick layers, yet the format is a refreshing change of pace from the drawn-out dramas that fill so much of the TV schedule. 

Best film to watch on TV tonight

Sense and Sensibility, 6.15pm, Film4

Director Ang Lee brings a new sensibility to bear on the Jane Austen classic, with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet as sisters who are deprived of their inheritance. Lee's vision eschews saccharine photography in favour of something more sombre and moody. Much of the success of the film can also be credited to Thompson, who not only stars but also wrote the screenplay.

Live Sport

  • Golf: Women's Open Championship, from 11am, Sky Sports Golf/NOW
  • ITV Racing, York, 1.30pm, ITV

Soaps on TV tonight

If you watch just one thing on TV tonight…

Don't miss I Am Maria on TV tonight – Lesley Manville is brilliant in this intimate drama.

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

Happy viewing!