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Becks appeal.


FOOTBALL fever takes over TV this week - and the World Cup is still over a fortnight away. To keep fans amused until then comes Soccer Aid, plus a close-up look at the world of David Beckham.

In the build-up to the tournament which could mark the pinnacle of his career, Tim Lovejoy talks to the England captain in David Beckham: A Footballer's Story (ITV1, Tuesday).

Becks looks back over his life, explaining how the skinny boy from Leytonstone grew up to become one of the world's most idolised players. He picks out the games, goals, events and characters that shaped his career.

The cameras follow him as he trains with Real Madrid, practises his legendary free kicks, plays against Arsenal in the Champions League and faces the media at the England team's press conferences. He also looks to the future and the development of his David Beckham Academy.

If you've not seen enough of the Beckhams, next Sunday ITV1 brings us Full Length And Fabulous: The Beckhams' World Cup Party. Posh and Becks are throwing an intimate gathering in the grounds of their Hertfordshire mansion for a mere 500 star guests, with food from Gordon Ramsay, music from James Brown and Robbie Williams and a charity auction hosted by Graham Norton.

Gordon and Robbie are having a busy week, as they're both team captains in Soccer Aid. The chef grew up in Stratford-upon-Avon but was born in Scotland, so he gets to captain the ambitiously-named Rest Of The World team, which takes on England - captained by Robbie - in a match on Saturday.

The teams are a strange mix of former players and football-playing celebs - though not quite as odd as the recent England v Germany 'Legends' match, which saw MP Boris Johnson rugby tackling an opponent.

The England side, coached by Terry Venables, includes Jamie Theakston, Bradley Walsh, Angus Deayton, Ben Shephard, Jonathan Wilkes, David Seaman, Tony Adams, Paul Gascoigne, John Barnes and Jamie Redknapp.

Ruud Gullit manages the Rest Of The World team which includes Brian McFadden, Patrick Kielty, Alastair Campbell, Eddie Irvine, Dunga, Peter Schmeichel and David Ginola.

They won't all get to play, so during the week of training before the big game at Old Trafford, in front of 77,000 people, they will have to prove they have what it takes.

Ant and Dec and Gabby Logan present Soccer Aid shows twice a day on ITV1 from Monday, showing how training is progressing, how the teams are bonding (or not) and bringing us all the behindthe - scenes gossip.

It sounds a lot like Sky One's The Match, and that's where Robbie Williams got the idea to organise a charity game on an even bigger scale, while watching his old mate Jonathan Wilkes play. Money raised goes to children's charity UNICEF, for which Robbie is an ambassador.

He says: "When I was in South Africa last month, I saw how UNICEF is helping children. I met four kids who live alone just outside Durban. Their mum and dad both died of Aids and they were found by neighbours.

"UNICEF help these children by sending a care worker every day to help them with things like homework, cooking and playing games.

"Their situation is devastating, but it is the reality of how Aids is affecting children. There are 15 million children orphaned by Aids in the world.

"Some of the best moments of my life have been those spent with children in Africa and Sri Lanka. I've met so many kids who gave me reason to smile. Now I want to be able to give them something to smile about too."

As well as the ITV1 shows with Ant and Dec, Sara Cox presents Soccer Aid: Extra Time on ITV2.



CLASH: Gordon Ramsay trains his side to face Robbie's boys' LIFE OF AN IDOL: David Beckham' SIZING UP: the team captains in training
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:May 21, 2006
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