By Louise Bolotin
The world’s largest art show offers a chance to see up-and-coming artists alongside the famous. Kirsty Wark, Alastair Sooke and Morgan Quaintance show us round some of the 1,000 exhibits on show at The Summer Exhibition: BBC Arts at the Royal Academy (Saturday, BBC2, 7pm). BBC2 is also dipping into its comedy archives again from 8pm, starting with a classic episode of Yes, Prime Minister, plus sketches from French and Saunders, and Victoria Wood. If you’ve not seen it before, catch Minette Walters’ gripping psychological thriller from 1997 The Ice House (Drama, 9pm), which stars a very young Daniel Craig and Frances Barber. Three women come under suspicion when a body turns up in the grounds of their rambling country pile.
The French Open finals are on this weekend. On Saturday, Maria Sharapova will be battling it out against Simona Halep (ITV, 1.30pm). On the Sunday, the men’s final will see Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal go head to head (ITV, 1.30pm). Djoko will be hoping for his first French win, to complete all the slams, while Rafa will be after a record-breaking ninth title.
Tennis aside, Sunday’s best pick is Wildfires 2014: Inside the Inferno (BBC2, 9pm), in which Kate Humble and Simon Reeve investigate Australia’s bush fires. They can break out up to a 100 times a day, putting huge strain on the volunteer fire service that battles to protect people and contain the devastation. On the eve of the World Cup in Rio, Soccer Aid (ITV, 6pm) will see celebrities and A-list celebrities kicking the ball across the grass at Old Trafford to raise cash for Unicef. Among the stars are Damien Lewis, Robbie Williams, James McAvoy and Olly Murs. There’s film fun to be had in The Greatest 80s Movies (Channel 5, 10pm) as Judd Nelson, Corey Feldman and other stars count down through the decade’s top celluloid outings.
The Culture Show profiles one of the UK’s top conceptual artists in Ryan Gander – the Art of Everything (Monday, BBC2, 10pm). With three shows opening this summer in London and Manchester, Gander’s eye-popping creations are designed to challenge preconceptions. Miranda Sawyer presents. Yet more pre-World Cup teasers as David Beckham (above) goes in search of an Amazon adventure by motorbike in David Beckham: Into the Unknown (BBC1, 8.30pm). He and three pals head into remote jungle, where he quickly discovers a fear of snakes while seriously roughing it. This is Becks as you’ve never seen him before and it’s rather good, though not groundbreaking. Watch out for wife Victoria fretting about his hair gel – priceless.
From footy to food. Celebrity Masterchef (Tuesday, BBC1, 9pm) is back for a ninth series. You know the form. Contestants include singer Kiki Dee, actors Todd Carty and Sophie Thompson, dancer Wayne Sleep, model Jodie Kidd and the ubiquitous Christopher Biggins. Meanwhile, in Nigel Slater’s Great British Biscuit (BBC4, 8pm) the popular cook explores our love affair with biscuits. A repeat but a worthy one. And back to footy, but now the women finally get a look in. Street Kid World Cup (BBC3, 9pm) sees a team of teenage girls from London head to Brazil to play against the local youngsters there. The Brazilian kids come from very challenging backgrounds and this is a surprisingly touching culture clash.
Eight years on from film-maker Chris Terrill’s searing documentary on the war in Afghanistan, he’s back with his sidekick, former marine Bertie Kerr, in Commando: Return to the Frontline (Wednesday, ITV, 10.35pm). Kerr now works in the City but the brutality of his tour in Helmand province has left its scars. And as the British army begins its exit, he and Terrill reflect on the conflict and the changes in Afghanistan.
And now, the curtain’s up – the first World Cup match is underway. Brazil v Croatia (Thursday, ITV, 7pm) launch the contest, with Adrian Chiles leading the team of presenters and pundits over the next month. Kick-off is at 9pm, but before then Rio puts on a spectacular opening ceremony – if anyone knows how to throw a party it’s Brazil, which draws on its carnival traditions to open the proceedings. (Matches will also be on the BBC over the next four weeks and schedules on both channels will be liable to disruption, with regular shows shifting times and channels.)
Divine soul singer Roberta Flack is profiled in Killing Me Softly: the Roberta Flack Story (Friday, BBC4, 9pm). She rose to fame at the late age of 35 with her cover of Ewan McColl’s haunting The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face in 1972 and went on to have smash hits with Killing Me Softly with His Song and Band of Gold. Her background – middle-class, classical background, married to a white bass player – was atypical for many black American musicians and she had plenty of flak (pardon the pun) for it. Her arrival as a serious artist shook up preconceptions of how a soul artist should sound in this revealing documentary. Flack discusses her lengthy career, with contributions from Dionne Warwick, Johnny Mathis and Cissy Houston.