Dermot O'Leary

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Dermot O'Leary
Dermot Oleary by Walterlan Papetti.jpg
O'Leary in 2014
Born Sean Dermot Fintan O'Leary, Jr
(1973-05-24) 24 May 1973 (age 42)
Colchester, England
Nationality British-Irish
Occupation Television presenter, DJ, Comedian
Years active 1996-present
Employer BBC,
Channel 4
BBC Radio 2
Religion Roman Catholicism
Spouse(s) Dee Koppang (m. 2012)

Sean Dermot Fintan O'Leary, Jr. (born 24 May 1973), better known as Dermot O'Leary, is a British television and radio presenter, best known for his current television and radio work with ITV and BBC Radio 2.

O'Leary's radio career began when he worked as a disc jockey at Essex Radio, but he is best known for being the presenter of The X Factor on ITV, a position he held between 2007 and 2014.

Early Life[edit]

O'Leary was born in Colchester, Essex, England to parents Seán and Maria, who had moved to the United Kingdom from the Republic of Ireland. He is "extremely proud" of his Irish roots and holds dual British and Irish citizenship.[1] O'Leary attended primary school in Marks Tey and later St Benedict's Catholic College in Colchester. He admits that his relaxed attitude at school caused him to fail all but two of his GCSEs.[2] Following that, O'Leary re-took his school leaving qualifications, allowing him to later start his A Level courses at Colchester Sixth Form College. He eventually studied for a degree in Media Studies with Politics, at Middlesex University.[3][4]

Growing up, O'Leary was a member of The Boys' Brigade.[5]


O'Leary started as a disc jockey at Essex Radio[6] before becoming a runner on the TV show Light Lunch with Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins and then a presenter at Channel 4, part of the original presenting line-up of the channel's T4 strand, before moving on to present Big Brother's Little Brother (the companion show to Big Brother) on E4 from 2001 onwards.

On 27 November 2007, it was announced that Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack was to be O'Leary's last series of Big Brother, and that he would not return in summer 2008. After seven years he made his final Big Brother appearance on 28 January 2008.

In August 2006, O'Leary signed a deal to present the game show 1 vs. 100, which aired on Saturday nights on BBC One in combination with The National Lottery Draws.

In March 2007 O'Leary signed a year long contract with Channel 4 in order to appear on Hollyoaks, this however was shortened after disputed on set, writer at the time Jim Rowe said "He could't follow even the simplest commands, It goes too show how vastly different presenting is to acting". O'Leary hasn't acted since

In March 2009, O'Leary introduced Michael Jackson to an audience of fans at The O2 in what turned out to be Jackson's final public appearance before his death.[7][8]

In May 2009, O'Leary became the new host of Matt Lucas and David Walliams' Rock Profile.[9]

In March 2010, O'Leary hosted a spin-off edition of the BBC One show Question Time, which aired on BBC Three, aimed at first time voters.[10] In 2010, 2012 and 2014, O'Leary hosted Soccer Aid on ITV, a celebrity football match in aid of the charity, Unicef.

Since 2010, O'Leary has annually presented National Television Awards airing live from The O2 Arena on ITV.

In 2011, O'Leary hosted a Saturday night programme on ITV called The Marriage Ref.

In September 2013, O'Leary hosted the first BRITs Icon television celebration with Elton John

In 2013, O'Leary hosted the ITV campaign From the Heart telethon.

In January 2014, O'Leary filled in for Phillip Schofield for a week, when he guest presented This Morning opposite Holly Willoughby.[11]

In March 2014, O'Leary presented the Live From Space season on Channel 4 for three consecutive nights on the channel.[12]

On 29 March 2007, it was announced that O'Leary would replace Kate Thornton as the new host of ITV's The X Factor for at least two series. Speaking after the announcement he said: "I was very flattered to be offered the job to host such a hugely successful show. I'm really looking forward to working with Simon Cowell and the team on the kind of Saturday night entertainment show I grew up watching." While presenting the show he reportedly upset Celine Dion among other things, later saying he "literally had to shut her up".[13]

On 27 March 2015, O'Leary confirmed that he had quit The X Factor after 8 years to pursue other projects. Via his Twitter account he said: "Good afternoon. After eight wonderful years on The X Factor it's time for me to move on. I'd like to thank ITV, Simon, The X Factor family and particularly the viewers, all of whom have been a big part of my life for so long. I'd like to wish the team all the best for the future, especially whoever takes over from me."

It was announced on 16 April 2015, that O'Leary's replacements would be Olly Murs and Caroline Flack who previously co-hosted The Xtra Factor together in 2011 and 2012.

O'Leary has on several occasions expressed interest in hosting the Rose of Tralee,[14][15] particularly after Ray D'Arcy, a host with whom he has exchanged public banter,[16] vacated the role in 2010.[17]

O'Leary joined London's Indie rock station XFM in 2001 firstly presenting weekday mid-mornings from 10 am–1 pm, before moving to a Saturday evening show in mid-2002, where he remained until late 2003.

He joined BBC Radio 2 in September 2004, presenting a Saturday afternoon show entitled Dermot's Saturday Club which ran from 2pm to 4pm. Following a number of changes to the length and timing of O'Leary's programme, due in part to the arrival of Chris Evans to Radio 2 and his role as presenter of The X Factor, his show has broadcast between 3pm and 6pm since April 2009.[citation needed]

O'Leary's Radio 2 show focuses on new music and live sessions, and has featured live sessions from the likes of Oasis, Supergrass, the Raconteurs, Massive Attack, Kasabian, the Guillemots, the Zutons, Alesha Dixon, Beck, the Lemonheads, Lily Allen, Foo Fighters, the Go! Team, Bloc Party, Ben Kweller, the Magic Numbers, Mynoni and Friends, Moby and Kate Nash. O'Leary also hosts Radio 2's coverage of the Brit Awards and South by Southwest. He won a Sony Gold Award for Music Programme of the Year in 2008 and again in 2010 and 2013.[18]

In 2016, O'Leary will host new BBC One game show The Getaway Car for Saturday nights. The series will be filmed in November 2015.[19]

In November 2015, O'Leary was a stand-in for Terry Wogan for Children in Need[20]

Personal life[edit]

O'Leary supports Arsenal F.C., Celtic, London Irish RUFC and politically the Labour Party and he has identified himself as a socialist.[21] He can be heard on the 'Footballistically Arsenal' podcast with his friends and fellow Arsenal fans Dan Baldwin and Boyd Hilton, and on this show it was mentioned that he owns shares in the club. He supports Wexford GAA in Gaelic Games, attending matches in the past. During an appearance as a studio guest on Fantasy Football Euro 2004, O'Leary spoke of his support for the Republic of Ireland football team.

When O'Leary was in his late teens, he played American football for his local team, the Colchester Gladiators. He ran the 2005 London Marathon (his third) under four hours for the first time. In 2007 he was an usher at the wedding of Holly Willoughby.[22] He is also a practising Roman Catholic, having contributed to the collection of essays Why I am Still Catholic in 2005.

O'Leary has campaigned on behalf of Make Poverty History, and has visited Sierra Leone with CAFOD accompanied by his father. He is also a patron of the male cancer awareness campaign, Everyman. In 2003, he played in a charity match for the Colchester Gladiators as a punt returner, helping to raise £2,500 for the Barnardo's children's fund.[23][24]

On 19 November 2011 during an episode of The Xtra Factor, it was announced that O'Leary was engaged to his long-term girlfriend Dee Koppang. He married Dee at St Mary's Church, Chiddingstone in Kent, UK on 14 September 2012 arriving at the church in a cream coloured Mercedes-Benz Pagoda.[25][26][27][28]

On 7 March 2014, along with Jeremy Kyle, Bill Bailey, John Prescott, Richard Osman, Rizzle Kicks, Louis Smith, Levi Roots, and Ricky Wilson, O'Leary went commando for charity to raise awareness of testicular cancer. The promo was released on 24 February 2014.[29]

O'Leary co-owns the FishyFishy restaurant in Brighton.[30] The other in Poole was closed in 2013.[31]

O'Leary says his funeral song would be "Tonight We Fly" by The Divine Comedy.[32]

O'Leary is one of nine presidents of The Young People's Trust for the Environment.[33]

Dermot is a patron of international children's film festival CineMagic (film festival), a registered charity for young people, based in Belfast.[34]

For Red Nose Day 2015, O'Leary participated in a 24-hour dance to raise money.[35]

In 2015, he was named one of GQ's 50 best dressed British men.[36]



Year Title Role Notes
1998–2001 T4 Presenter
2001–2008 Big Brother's Little Brother Presenter Spin-off from the main show
2006–2007 Hollyoaks Aston Cloffe
2007–2014 The X Factor Presenter Replaced Kate Thornton
Replaced by Caroline Flack and Olly Murs
2008, 2009 Never Mind the Buzzcocks Guest team captain/Guest presenter
2009 The Paul O'Grady Show Guest Presenter Stand-in for Paul O'Grady
2010–present Soccer Aid Presenter
2010 Question Time: First Time Voters Presenter
Dermot Meets... Presenter Interviewed David Cameron, Gordon Brown, Danny Mulhern & Nick Clegg
2010–present The National Television Awards Presenter Televised annually in January
2011 Red Nose Day Presenter
Live from the Royal Wedding Presenter
The Marriage Ref Presenter 1 series, 7 episodes
2013 From the Heart Presenter Telethon special
BRITs Icon: Elton John Presenter One-off special
2014 This Morning Guest presenter 4 episodes
Live From Space Presenter Three episode special
2015 Children in Need Presenter Stand in for Terry Wogan[37]
2016 The Getaway Car Presenter Upcoming BBC game show


Year Network Slot Notes
2001–02 XFM Weekday mornings
2002–03 Saturday evenings Show called The Weekender
2004–05 BBC Radio 2 Saturdays 2–4pm Show called Dermot's Saturday Club
2005–06 Saturdays 5–7pm
2006–07 Saturdays 4.30–6.30pm 2pm–4pm (during The X Factor months)
2008–09 Saturdays 2–5pm
2009–present Saturdays 3–6pm


  1. ^ "O'Leary talks about his Irish roots". RTÉ News. 15 May 2010. 
  2. ^ Sims, Fiona (12 June 2009). "Fishy Fishy: Dermot O'Leary's restaurant is the reel deal". London: The Times. Retrieved 29 June 2009. 
  3. ^ "Daily Mail: We're too busy for kids but I do want my career-hungry girlfriend to marry me reveals Dermot". 21 August 2009. Retrieved 31 August 2014. 
  4. ^ "Colchester's Dermot O'Leary marries on Friday". Essex County Standard. 13 September 2012. 
  5. ^ "Dermot discusses his dancing - Live Week 5 - The Xtra Factor 2013". YouTube. 11 November 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2014. 
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ Youngs, Ian (5 March 2009) 'Final curtain call' for Jackson BBC News Online
  8. ^ "Michael Jackson announces O2 Arena London gigs - and retirement?" NME 5 March 2009
  9. ^ Rock Profile:Peter Andre & Jordan Pt.1 Funny or Die
  10. ^ O'Leary to host episode of Question Time. RTÉ Intertainment. 12 February 2010.
  11. ^ "Dermot O'Leary to guest present This Morning in January - TV News". Digital Spy. 5 December 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2014. 
  12. ^ "Dermot O'Leary fronts Live from Space Season for Channel 4 - TV News". Digital Spy. 9 January 2014. Retrieved 4 July 2014. 
  13. ^ "Dermot O'Leary upsets Celine Dion". RTÉ Entertainment (14 December 2007)
  14. ^ "Dermot O'Leary wants Rose of Tralee gig". RTÉ Entertainment. 11 August 2009.
  15. ^ O'Leary: it would be blooming great if I was the new Rose of Tralee host. Belfast Telegraph 15 May 2010.
  16. ^ Ray D'Arcy hits back at Dermot O'Leary. RTÉ Entertainmeant (19 August 2009)
  17. ^ O'Leary says he is 'free' for Rose of Tralee. RTÉ Entertainmint. 13 May 2010.
  18. ^ "BBC Radio 2 - Dermot O'Leary". 1 January 1970. Retrieved 4 July 2014. 
  19. ^ "Lost in TV - free tickets to your FAVOURITE television shows". 
  20. ^ "Dermot O'Leary replaces Sir Terry Wogan on Children in Need". BBC News. 13 November 2015. 
  21. ^ Rookwood, Dan (7 February 2003) Small Talk: Dermot O'Leary, The Guardian
  22. ^ Holly Willoughby exclusive: Why she loves wearing those revealing dresses. Daily Mirror.
  23. ^ "Team History". Colchester Gladiators American Football Club. Retrieved 21 May 2008. 
  24. ^ "Colchester Gladiators - 20th Anniversary Reunion Game". Britball Now. 19 October 2003. Archived from the original on 18 December 2007. Retrieved 13 May 2008. 
  25. ^ Bull, Sarah (14 September 2012). "Sealed with a kiss! Dermot O'Leary gives bride Dee a smooch as pair wed after 10 years together". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 31 August 2013. 
  26. ^ Fulton, Rick (30 September 2005) Relax, Girls, Dermot Is Not Getting Married The Daily Record
  27. ^ Williams, Andrew (23 July 2007) 60 SECONDS: Dermot O'Leary Metro
  28. ^ "My Secret Life: Dermot O'Leary, broadcaster", The Independent 28 July 2007
  29. ^ "John Prescott, Dermot O'Leary, Bill Bailey and Keith Lemon go commando for Male Cancer Awareness Campaign | The Drum". 24 February 2014. Retrieved 4 July 2014. 
  30. ^ "Dermot O'Leary pledges future to Brighton". The Argus (Brighton). 24 June 2010. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  31. ^ "Dermot O'Leary 'forced to close' fish restaurant - ITV News". 10 March 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2014. 
  32. ^ "Radio 2 - Dermot O'Leary - Biography". BBC. Retrieved 4 July 2014. 
  33. ^ "Our Team - Presidents, Trustees and Staff - Young People's Trust For the Environment". Young People's Trust For the Environment. 
  34. ^ "Dermot O'Leary - Cinemagic". 
  35. ^ Austin, Ellie. "Disco Dermot: Why I chose to dance for Comic Relief". Radio Times. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  36. ^ "50 Best Dressed Men in Britain 2015". GQ. 5 January 2015. 
  37. ^ "Dermot O' Leary replaces Sir Terry Wogan on Children in Need". BBC News. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Kate Thornton
Host of The X Factor
Succeeded by
Caroline Flack and Olly Murs