WHAT: Autobiographies. Just as Greatest Hits records have increasingly been released by bands whose career only spanned a couple of albums, so autobiographies have begun to sprout from the most unlikely sources.

Once it was accepted wisdom that to write an autobiography you had to have had a life, and a long and eventful one at that. But, hey, why bother?

It seems that, having dumbed-down TV and pop music we have a supply of dumbed-down biographies to boot. These days it doesn't actually matter how long you have spent in the business, only how many people know your face.

Hence the slew of books emerging from the Spice Girls, with Catch A Fire from the unlucky Mel B, Learning To Fly from the exceptionally lucky Victoria Beckham and Just For The Record, Geri's second such effort at the grand old age of 30!

But puppy-eyed Gareth Gates surely takes the biscuit for most ridiculous autobiography to date. OK, so he is plastered all over young girls' walls from Scotland to Southend, but an autobiography!?

He was born in 1984 for heaven's sake! People have flip flops older than this guy! And yet his book, Right From The Start, promising an in-depth look at his childhood, his struggle to cope with his stutter and his rise to fame with Pop Idol, topped the best-seller list recently.

And there's the key. These books aren't about a life in pop music, they are about "celebrity". How seemingly unexceptional people became the most famous faces in the country.

And, by this token, anything is possible: The life stories of S Club Juniors and Romeo Beckham's memoirs of life as a celebrity child?

MUSIC: Ms Dynamite. Months ago 24:7 told you to look out for Ms Dynamite, a London MC turned singer whose single, It Takes More, was creeping up the charts. And how right we were! Ms Dynamite has since won the prestigious Mercury Music Prize, last year won by Bolton's Badly Drawn Boy, and recently scooped three MOBO awards.

From unknown MC to shining star in a matter of months, the singer can do no

wrong. And now it looks like she will be gaining even more mainstream success due to a duet with Robbie Williams.

Williams, who has recently renewed his contract with EMI in the biggest deal in UK history, is rumoured to have asked the singer to record with him on his new album, Escapology. They might seem like an odd match but Ms Dynamite's fresh and feisty hip hop sound is likely to give Williams' easy-listening pop some much needed cred. And at least this means that he won't be doing the rapping himself this time.

TV: The Shield. Featuring an anti-hero who looks like a cross between Grant Mitchell, Bruce Willis and an angry bulldog, this new cop show from Five is violent, nasty and completely and utterly gripping. Having shown that they can spot a hit show when they see one, with the US double bill of CSI and Law and Order, Five have hit the jackpot with The Shield, in which off-the-rails officer Vic Mackey confounds expectations by being neither good nor bad cop, but something entirely more disturbing. Already so far he has beaten co-operation out of a paedophile, given money to a prostitute to feed her son, kidnapped a basketball player for fun and shot one of his own men in the head. And there have only been two episodes. Phew! Cagney and Lacey it isn't.

What's Niz

FAME Academy. Unlikely as it seems, this might have been a case of one reality show too many as far as Joe Public is concerned. Pitched as a cross between Big Brother and Pop Stars with a bit of the Kids From Fame chucked in, the show did less than impressively in the ratings despite having CD:UK favourite Cat Deeley and Irish comedian-cum-presenter Patrick Kielty as its hosts.

Last Friday Fame Academy gained only 4.6 m viewers, which sounds a lot until you realise that Gardeners' World got 4.3 million. And it seems that the people who did drag themselves away from the petunias were non too enraptured by the reality show, with less people returning after the break for news.

There's no logic to it - all the essential ingredients are there: 12 desperately hopeful contestants, a shared house, cameras, voting and yet we weren't switching on. Ah well, reality TV addicts might be nosey and lazy, but at least they're not predictable.