Dermot is one of the nation’s best, and most-loved, television and radio presenters. He established himself as a presenter of Big Brother’s Little Brother on Channel 4 before moving on to The X Factor on ITV. He has also presented on the BBC and has his own radio show on BBC Radio 2.
Dermot O’Leary studied at Middlesex University, achieving a degree in Media and Television with Politics. Whilst at Middlesex University he developed an interest in comedy and was involved in various gigs in the students’ union.
He started as a disc jockey at Essex Radio before becoming a runner on the TV show Light Lunch with Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins. He was then 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.
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 been broadcast between 3pm and 6pm since April 2009.
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.
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.
In March 2009, O’Leary introduced Michael Jackson to an audience of fans at the The O2 in what turned out to be Jackson’s final public appearance before his untimely death.
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.
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.