TV tonight: Mary Beard explores the history of the nude

The classicist tries her hand at life drawing as she starts an entertaining overview of western art’s depiction of nudes. Plus: Inside No 9 returns. Here’s what to watch this evening

Mary Beard’s Shock of the Nude
9pm, BBC Two

There are depictions of nudes throughout western art, yet they have always been contentious. Academic Mary Beard begins a two-part series exploring the history of the nude, from Titian’s Venus of Urbino and its passivity inviting a lascivious male gaze to the pulse-racing depictions of Saint Sebastian, which had women “sinning” at the sight of Fra Bartolomeo’s version in the 16th century. Beard even tries her hand at life drawing with a hen party in this entertaining overview. Ammar Kalia

Australia on Fire: Climate Emergency
8pm, Channel 4

Australia has spent the past months being devastated by enormous bushfires. This one-off documentary tells the story of the firefighters and families who have been on the frontline of the chaos. It’s a call to action as we witness the huge damage to wildlife and its climate-crisis causes. AK

Inside No 9
10pm, BBC Two

From a slapstick burglary to a parody of 70s horror and a very cryptic crossword, each episode of Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith’s anthology series toes the line between deliciously arch and horrifyingly comic. As it returns, David Morrissey and Ralf Little star in a football-themed tale. Hannah J Davies

Baghdad Central
10pm, Channel 4

Iraqi underworld ... Baghdad Central.
Iraqi underworld ... Baghdad Central. Photograph: Sife Elamine/Channel 4

Based on Elliot Colla’s novel, this six-part thriller is set during the US occupation of Iraq in 2003. In the midst of revolutionary optimism and fear, a police inspector’s daughter goes missing and the search for her uncovers a troubling underworld. A nail-biting opener recreates an atmospheric and secretive Baghdad. AK

This Life
10pm, BBC Four

A welcome repeat run for Amy Jenkins’s zeitgeist-defining drama about trainee lawyers juggling chaotic work and social lives in a south London houseshare, screening in moreish double-bill helpings. Twenty-four years since it first aired, does it still stand up? (And is Miles still an arrogant so-and-so?) Yes. (And yes.) Graeme Virtue

Surviving R Kelly Part II: The Reckoning
10pm, Crime + Investigation

Following the shocking revelations of the Surviving R Kelly series in 2019, detailing the singer’s alleged widespread abuse of young women, this sequel delves into the attempted recovery and backlash for his accusers. A sobering look at the post-#MeToo discourse. AK

Film choice

An eloquent testament ... An Elephant Sitting Still.
An eloquent testament ... An Elephant Sitting Still. Photograph: New Wave Films

An Elephant Sitting Still 12.05am, Film4

The Chinese novelist Hu Bo wrote, directed and edited this debut feature, then tragically killed himself, aged 29. He leaves an eloquent testament – a day in the lives of four people in a miserable industrial town: a bullied teenager, the girl he fancies, a local thug and an elderly man destined for the care home. Paul Howlett

Today’s sport

Cricket: Under-19s World Cup Coverage of the ninth-place playoff from South Africa. 7.45am, Sky Sports Cricket

Snooker: World Grand Prix Day one of the tournament from Cheltenham. 6.45pm, ITV4

Bundesliga 2 Football: Bochum v Hamburg The second-tier clash from Vonovia-Ruhrstadion 7.30pm, BT Sport 1

Contributors

Ammar Kalia, Hannah J Davies, Graeme Virtue and Paul Howlett

The GuardianTramp

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