Television choices: Image of rural Britain is set to greet all competitors
TV pick of the week: Olympics 2012 Opening Ceremony
Friday 9pm BBC1
The countdown is over – now the ceremony begins with what promises to be the quirky antithesis to the militarily precise shock and awe of Beijing. Danny Boyle's pageant is apparently about a land recovering from its industrial legacy (that's one way of putting it), an almost John Major-like vision of families taking picnics, farmers tilling the soil and sports on the village green, on a set featuring real farmyard animals and fake rain. Fake rain! There will also be mosh pits, eclectic music and more to threaten the sang-froid of the Queen as she does the honours, after the athletes from 200 countries have paraded. Then the Olympic flame arrives, and with it the identity of the final torchbearer. And don't worry, Beckham has ruled himself out.
The Hollow Crown – Henry V
Saturday 8pm BBC2
"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more..." The final play in the BBC's excellent Shakespeare's cycle is also the least complex, being in effect a long series of battles, skirmishes and face-offs with the French ambassador. Fortunately, Tom Hiddleston (above) is just right in the title role, while yet another who's who of British thespian talent maintains engagement.
Sunday 9pm BBC1
The final adaptation, Before the Frost, in the current trilogy was written by Henning Mankel as a Linda Wallander novel, and Kurt's daughter (played by Jeanny Spark) re-appears in the life of her old misery-guts papa (Kenneth Branagh, above) after a childhood friend goes missing. Bad things are happening in the woods, starting with burning swans.
Arena: Amy Winehouse – The Day She Came to Dingle
Monday 10pm BBC4
On the exact first anniversary of her shocking, but not entirely unexpected death, this is a record of Amy Winehouse in her prime. It recalls the night in December 2006 when Winehouse played a stunning acoustic set in a church in Dingle in the west of Ireland (a concert recorded for Irish TV), giving a relaxed interview afterwards.
Thursday 8pm Channel 4
David Starkey has a low opinion of the literary abilities of modern politicians and their ghosted memoirs, unlike Winston Churchill (above) and his one million words, written over 10 years, on his ancestor, the first Duke of Marlborough. Starkey's thesis is that writing the biography of one great war leader prepared Churchill for becoming a great war leader himself.
Bert and Dickie
Wednesday 8.30pm BBC1
William Ivory's tale of gold- winning 1948 Olympians Bert Bushnell and Dickie Burnell doesn't contain enough conflict to make a rowing (or, more precisely, sculling) Chariots of Fire, but is of interest on the "Austerity Games" – how athletes made their own kit, and trained on barely enough protein to sustain a sparrow. Matt Smith and Sam Hoare (both above) star.
Tuesday 10.35pm BBC1
As three of Titian's paintings of the goddess Diana are shown together for the first time at the National Gallery, Alan Yentob reports on a collaboration with the Royal Ballet, meeting the creative team transforming the works into dance pieces. Among them are artists Chris Ofili and Mark Wallinger, and choreographers Wayne McGregor and Christopher Wheeldon.
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
- 2 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 3 Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
- 4 Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
- 5 Refugee crisis: Aylan's life was full of fear - in death, he is part of 'humanity washed ashore'
The real reason Eddie Redmayne was cast as a trans woman in The Danish Girl
First Look at Bryan Cranston transformed into LBJ for HBO’s ‘All the Way’ film
Idris Elba is ‘too street’ to play 007, says James Bond author
This little boy loves books so much that he cries when his mother stops reading to him
Prog rock finally comes of age with launch of the first Official Progressive Chart
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up