TELEVISION / BRIEFING: A quiet night in on the town

Cabaret and television have not enjoyed a beautiful relationship (remember Paramount City?). Half the fun of cabaret stems from being there, and a Big Night In often just looks flat and forced. VIVA CABARET] (C4 10.30pm) is the latest noble attempt to overcome these difficulties. The host for the first of seven shows is Tom Jones, who, for all his rabble-rousing talents, is no Joel Grey. Some of the artists - such as the amusing chap whose act involves swallowing a pair of garden shears - seem remaindered from The Last Resort (which, of course, was also responsible for re-launching Jones The Voice). The Doug Anthony Allstars - 'always popular down at the Viva Cabaret]' Jones enthuses, without much conviction - run through their familiar 'Aussie punks from hell' routine, Greg Proops looks less assured with a script than he does without one on Whose Line Is It Anyway? and Sandra Bernhard, so good in Roseanne, delivers a disappointingly straight version of the Rolling Stones' 'Angie'. The lack of verve is summed up by what must be a first: a performance of 'It's Not Unusual' which does not culminate in Jones being pelted with items of lingerie.

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