TV highlights 24/04/2012

Architecture School | The Syndicate | Hidden Talent | Britain Unzipped | Mad Men | Later Live – With Jools Holland

Architecture School
8.30pm, Sky Arts 1

In one of the most middle-class reality shows ever, six architecture students compete to design affordable homes for a part of New Orleans ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. This show's idea of an ad-break cliffhanger is a professor named Byron gravely telling his class, "You may spend the rest of the semester working on a building that may not be built … are you comfortable with that?" Some locals aren't happy: "You're back in the black neighbourhood, experimenting on shit", one complains. But as reality shows go, this is different, involving and commendable. Ali Catterall

The Syndicate
9pm, BBC1

Shallow, angry and too fond of "sniff" for his own good, lottery winner Jamie thinks his new-found wealth will keep him safe. As a local crime bigwig pays a visit to the club, the validity of this belief is about to be tested to the limit. Meantime, lovely Bob gets hitched prior to surgery, Leanne's court date looms and Stuart faces his own crisis. The finale to Kay Mellor's drama unfolds with everyone more or less getting their just deserts; old-fashioned, perhaps, but the quality of the writing largely carries the day. Jonathan Wright

Hidden Talent
9pm, Channel 4

At last, an aching scheduling void is filled: a show in which members of the public are invited to come on TV and display their skills. Actually, this isn't quite that sort of show; it's hosted by Richard Bacon and examines the latent abilities of people who turned up to "talent test days" and discovered they were extraordinarily adept in ways of which they had no idea. Among the hopefuls is a 63-year-old retired boutique owner whose experience selling wedding dresses has apparently lent her an uncommon capacity for lie detection. David Stubbs

Britain Unzipped
9pm, BBC3

New BBC3 series, probably the work of people who believe "wacky", "zany" and even "madcap" are compliments. Radio 1's Greg James and comedian Russell Kane will spend six weeks riffing on the findings of an "alternative social census" of the UK, asking such key questions as how much money people would want to have a toe chopped off, and where in the country people are most likely to have slept with a friend's partner. Likely to leave the Daily Mail uncertain whether to damn it as a squandering of licence fees, or plunder it for stories. Andrew Mueller

Mad Men

9pm, Sky Atlantic

In the absence of any Draper capers, humanoid-weasel hybrid Pete Campbell's antics seem to be carrying Mad Men somewhat this season. Last week's in-office slugfest between Campbell and that nice Lane Pryce should hopefully provide the basis for some frosty scenes this week, as continuing cultural and social upheaval forces the partners at SCDP to consider drastic change in order to survive. Which probably spells the end of Roger Sterling's dubious "blackface" act. Gwilym Mumford

Later Live – With Jools Holland
10pm, BBC2

The buzz band of the moment are recent Guide cover stars Alabama Shakes, an example of that dependable formula, testifying rock'n'roll: they're Russell Crowe's favourite band, and a rawer kind of collective than one might expect to find at No 3 in the album charts. Joining them tonight is adoptive southerner Jack White. His debut solo album Blunderbuss is played live with an alternately all-woman and all-male backing band, so one hopes both will get an airing here. Stalwarts the Chieftains and electropop singer Grimes round out the bill. John Robinson


Ali Catterall, Jonathan Wright, David Stubbs, Andrew Mueller, Gwilym Mumford and John Robinson

The GuardianTramp

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