Last Night's Television: The Event: How Racist Are You?, Channel 4
Wonderland, BBC2

Fearne and Peaches Geldof, ITV2

There's no pride in prejudice

Jane Elliott calls herself "the Bitch" but, like most people who self-define ("I'm mad, me"), she doesn't really live up to her claims.

Frosty, yes. Bitch? Nah. In fact, she's spent the best part of her life trying to make people nicer – well, less racist, which is certainly nicer, in one way at least – starting in 1960s America, and now here, in a warehouse in modern-day Britain.

The Event: How Racist Are You? is the latest instalment in Channel 4's Race: Science's Last Taboo season. Elliott had asked for a group of volunteers willing to take part in a "psychological experiment". As soon as they arrived, she divided them up by eye colour: one group blue, one brown. The brown eyes, a mix of various ethnicities, she treated with a certain level of chilly respect. The blues, she sneered at, and sent off to be contained in a dark room for two hours. While they're left to pace their cramped room, she took the "browns" through the reasoning behind her experiment – the same one, more or less, which she has been doing around the world for the past 40 years. The only way to eradicate racism, she argued, was by teaching "white folk" what it feels like to be black.

It's more than a little simplistic, if not for 1960s America then at least for modern-day Britain, where racism assumes a far more varied and multilayered form than simple white-versus-black equations suggest. Immediately, the candidates started to throw up their various objections. One woman claimed that she didn't want to be a part of "putting other people down", several others walked out. In the other room, the kerfuffle is being watched by Krishnan Guru-Murthy and a pair of psychologists, who noted that the fuss is coming exclusively from the group's white members. They had a point. Are the protesters failing to understand, as Elliott appears to suggested, their own latent racism? It's tricky. I'm not sure I'd go that far, but it's certainly interesting.

Far less spectacle in Wonderland, though perhaps a rather more genuine display of human emotion. The British in Bed is the first instalment in the second series of these quirky, kitchen-sink documentaries and it's excellent. For three quarters of an hour, we are presented with a sequence of brief interviews with couples who discuss, with astonishing candour, the intricacies of their various relationships.

We hear what they fight over, what they most dislike about one another, what makes them stay together and how frequently they have sex. What could be a creepy exercise in voyeurism turns out to be quite the opposite: a gentle, and rather moving portrait of human emotion. There's Alf and Miriam, aged 84 and 74, who still make one another giggle like teenagers (he likes the young girls "growing big boobies" on television, he says, but they don't excite him). There's Khadijah and Tariro, who are expecting twins and plan to get married shortly after the birth (despite, rather distressingly, the fact that he can't tell her he loves her). And there's Peter and Rumy, aged 67 and 48, who have only been married for a few years and like to think of themselves as "like a modern version of My Fair Lady". All of the couples are shot in their bed, sitting side by side. Some of them reveal feelings to one another that the other had no idea existed; others start bickering over past disagreements. And so it goes on; a riveting, touching and funny tapestry of contemporary life.

One final word, on part two of Fearne Cotton's ITV2 talk show, Fearne and Peaches Geldof. Against all expectations, this is actually something of an improvement on last week's offering, largely because of the irresistible awfulness of Ms Geldof's behaviour. It's like watching someone trip over; you can see it coming, you don't quite know how to react and, once it happens, you can't tear your eyes away. Fearne dealt with it all rather well; she's much better in standoffish mode than in the fawning "are we friends?" one affected in last week's meeting with Paris Hilton. Peaches appeared to think that she's some kind of social revolutionary. "I'm, like, really into awkwardness," she drawled, repeatedly, throughout the show. "I really, like, enjoy awkward pauses." Pressed on fame, she tended to respond with a sulky "I don't want to talk about it," claiming instead to prefer discussing science fiction. "I'm interested in Stephen Hawking's theories and the Large Hadron Collider", which may be true, but certainly doesn't prove a much better catalyst for enthusiasm (real or politely feigned.) She looks at Cotton the way your school Mean Girl might look at the fat kid in the corner – head to toe once over, eyes rolling. At one stage, she actually buried her face in the car seat, curling up in a ball with her back to Fearne. Yes, that's right, just like a sulky toddler.

a.jarvis@independent.co.uk

Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

TV
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West is on his 'Yeezus' tour at the moment

Music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam