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Dermot O'Leary (born Seán Dermot Fintan Michael Gerard O'Leary, Jr. on 24 May 1973) is a British presenter of radio and television, best known for presenting Big Brother's Little Brother and, currently, The X Factor.


Early life

Dermot O'Leary attended St. Benedict's Roman Catholic School in Colchestermarker from which he left with 2 GCSEs, and Colchester Sixth Form Collegemarker. He studied for a BA degree in Media and Television, with modules in politics, at Middlesex University, gaining a 2:2. He is of Irish descent and both his parents are from Irelandmarker. Dermot atteneded Saint Mac Daras Community College in Dublin for several years.

Television presenting

He started as a television runner on the TV Show Late Lunch with Mel and Sue Perkins and then presenter at Channel 4, being 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. As of 2006, the show became less popular due to the huge success of fellow Big Brother sister show Big Brother's Big Mouth. O'Leary shares the same talent agency as Russell Brand and Davina McCall - John Noel Management. On the 27 November 2007, it was announced that Big Brother: Celebrity Hijackmarker 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. A special 'Best Bits' trail was played, after which, O'Leary looked close to tears.

O'Leary presented the UK version of the game show 1 vs 100, aired on Saturdays nights on BBC One in combination with the National Lottery draws. However, the show is now hosted by Ben Shephard.

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."

In March 2009, O'Leary introduced Michael Jackson to a large audience of fans in London in what turned out to be Jackson's final public appearance before his death, with the two sharing an affectionate hug.

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


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 he was fired from the station in late 2003, due to poor ratings.

O'Leary joined BBC Radio 2 in September 2004, presenting a Saturday afternoon show entitled Dermot's Saturday Club. Since September 2005, following the arrival of Chris Evans at the station, he has presented a Saturday evening show for Radio 2. The show was originally broadcast from 5:00–7:00 pm, but since 18 November 2006 it has gone out from 4:30–6:30 pm. Due to commitments with TV Show The X Factor, Dermot can now be heard in his original time slot of 2-4pm on Saturdays. The show focuses on new music and live sessions, and has featured live sessions from the likes of Oasis, Supergrass, The Raconteurs, Massive Attack, Kasabian, Guillemots, The Zutons, Alesha Dixon, Beck, The Lemonheads, Lily Allen, the Foo Fighters, The Go! Team, Bloc Party, Ben Kweller, The Magic Numbers, Moby and Kate Nash. O'Leary also hosts Radio 2's Brits and South by Southwest coverage. O'Leary won a Sony Gold Award for Music Programme of the Year in 2008.[108313]

Personal life

In interviews (including two with the British newspaper The Guardian), O'Leary has stated that he supports Arsenal, Celtic and the Labour Party. He is of Irish descent and also supports Wexford GAA teams and has attended matches in the past. He has identified himself as a left-wing socialist. He is also a practising Roman Catholic, having contributed to the collection of essays Why I am Still Catholic in 2005. 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 in his late teens he played American Football for local team the Colchester Gladiators.

O'Leary has campaigned on behalf of Make Poverty History, and has visited Sierra Leonemarker with CAFOD accompanied by his father, Sean O'Leary. 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.

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.

He has been with his girlfriend, Dee Koppang, for over six years, and they live together in North London.

He says his funeral song would be "Tonight We Fly" by The Divine Comedy.

In the February 2008 issue of Irish society magazine Social and Personal, Dermot was voted the sexiest man in Ireland out of the Top 100.

Shows hosted

The following is a list of the main shows O'Leary has presented:



  • XFM Weekday Mid-Mornings - (2001-2002)
  • XFM The Weekender Saturday Evenings - (2002-2003)
  • BBC Radio 2 Dermot's Saturday Club Saturdays 2-4pm (2004-2005)
  • BBC Radio 2 The Dermot O'Leary Show Saturdays 5-7pm (2005-2006), Saturdays 4.30-6.30pm (2006-2007), Saturdays 2-4pm (during The X Factor, Nov-Dec 2007), Saturdays 2-5pm (2008-2009), Saturdays 3-6pm (2009-)


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