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Thursday’s best TV: Big Cats, Transformation Street, The Tunnel

Swamp tiger
Earning its stripes … a swamp tiger (Panthera tigris) in India. Photograph: Paul Williams/BBC/NHU/Paul Williams

Big Cats
8pm, BBC One

Following the success of Blue Planet II, we move on to dry land to follow the paw steps of the wild cat. They’re fearsome predators finely attuned to an environment where elusiveness is key to success. Luckily, modern filming techniques have finally allowed film-makers to capture the habits of seldom-seen felines, from super prides of lions in Tanzania to the competitively tiny Sri Lankan rusty-spotted cat. An enthralling insight into these bewhiskered beasts. Mark Gibbings-Jones

Transformation Street
9pm, ITV

A new three-part documentary series following those born in the wrong body through the process of gender-reassignment surgery. Covering 12 months in the lives of its subjects, the first film features Lucas, as he begins the transition from female to male, which involves surgery to remove his breasts and Wendy, a railway worker who is counting the days to her own surgery. For all the risks of sensationalism, it’s good to see ITV tackle this subject matter. David Stubbs

George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces
8pm, Channel 4

The affable architect returns to cast his eye over ambitious amateur building projects. This opening episode features a young couple desperate to turn a rusty canal boat into their dream home and a bickering father-and-son transforming a mucky cattle trailer into a luxury caravan. Clarke also tasks his industrious sidekick Will Hardie with a James May-esque retro wheeze: constructing a life-size 1970s Tree Tots treehouse. Graeme Virtue

The Cruise: Return to the Mediterranean
8.30pm, ITV

Paddington-fresh Hugh Bonneville is your narrator for the new series of the cruise ship doc. It’s a busy summer season on the Royal Princess as she sets sail around the Mediterranean. Of course, it would be boring if everything went smoothly, so thank the gods of jeopardy telly for strong winds that prevent the ship docking in Marseille. Elsewhere, there is pressure on staff to increase sales figures and a hotel manager who needs to motivate his team. Hannah Verdier

Hunted
9pm, Channel 4

In our all-too-realised dystopian future, it almost feels as if we’re getting to the point where gameshow contestants will be picked off for good, Battle Royale-style. Fortunately, the only thing Bob and Alex Ayling need worry about tonight is forfeiting their share of £100,000, after the father-and-son team are tracked by the hunters and drones to a church in Cheshire. Elsewhere, former police firearms officer Jamie Clark draws heat after using an ATM. Ali Catterall

The Tunnel.
Stephen Dillane as Karl in The Tunnel. Photograph: Des Willie/© Sky UK Ltd

The Tunnel
9pm, Sky Atlantic

The final series of the cross-channel crime drama concludes with a double bill that, not for the first time, contains moments that are genuinely shocking. And it’s spooky, notably when people start disappearing off the streets as the Pied Piper’s game reaches a conclusion. Most of all, it’s the friendship between odd-couple coppers Karl (Stephen Dillane) and Elise (Clémence Poésy) that lingers in the memory – and the mournful way this plays out in the last episode. Jonathan Wright

Walks With My Dog

9pm, More4

Very much as it sounds it might be, this returning series is a show in which we watch three celebrities walk their dogs. This isn’t just a quick scoot round the flats carrying a distasteful black carrier bag, though. No: this is a purposeful stroll to discover scenic Britain. In tonight’s first episode we visit Cornwall with Caroline Quentin, Hadrian’s Wall with Dom Joly, and get out on the beautiful Brecon Beacons with rugby great Gareth “Alfie” Thomas. John Robinson

Click here to watch the trailer for Goodfellas.

Film choice

Goodfellas (Martin Scorsese, 1990) 11.25pm, ITV4

Scorsese is back on the mean streets with an assured and crunchy tale of vicious folk. Ray Liotta plays real-life gangster Henry Hill who, after years of mayhem, turned state’s witness. The wiseguys he first admires, then fears, are Joe “You think I’m funny?” Pesci, Godfather Paul Sorvino and, most fearsome, Robert De Niro’s Jimmy, a man steeped in casual violence. Paul Howlett

Live sport

Golf: The SA Open 8am, Sky Sports Main Event. The opening day at the City of Ekurhuleni in South Africa.

Big Bash Cricket: Sydney Thunder v Perth Scorchers 8.30am, BT Sport 2. Australian T20 action from the Spotless Stadium in Perth.

Darts: BDO World Championships 12.05pm, Channel 4. The afternoon session on the sixth day of the tournament at Frimley Green.

This article titled "Thursday’s best TV: Big Cats, Transformation Street, The Tunnel" was written by Ali Catterall, Mark Gibbings-Jones, Paul Howlett, John Robinson, David Stubbs, Hannah Verdier, Graeme Virtue, Jonathan Wright, for The Guardian on Thursday 11 January 2018 06.00am

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