Seán Dermot Fintan O'Leary (born 24 May 1973) is an English broadcaster. He presented the television talent show The X Factor on ITV from 2007 until its final series in 2018, with the exception of 2015. Since 2021, O'Leary has presented ITV's This Morning on Fridays, school holidays and bank holidays alongside Alison Hammond, a role expanded to the remainder of the week on a rotation with the departures of Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby in the summer and autumn of 2023.

Dermot O'Leary
O'Leary in 2014
Seán Dermot Fintan O'Leary

(1973-05-24) 24 May 1973 (age 51)
Colchester, Essex, England
Years active1998–present
Dee Koppang
(m. 2012)

O'Leary began his radio career working as a disc jockey at Essex Radio. From 2001 to 2003, he was a presenter for London's indie rock station XFM. O'Leary joined BBC Radio 2 in 2004 and currently presents the Saturday morning breakfast show.[1]

Early life


Seán Dermot Fintan O'Leary was born on 24 May 1973 in Colchester, Essex, the son of Irish parents Maria and Seán; he has had Irish citizenship since birth.[2] He attended primary school in nearby Marks Tey and later joined St Benedict's Catholic College in Colchester. His complacent attitude at school caused him to fail all but two of his GCSEs.[3] Following that, O'Leary re-took his school-leaving qualifications. This allowed 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.[4]

Growing up, he was a member of The Boys' Brigade Christian youth organisation.[5] When he was in his late teens, he played American football for the Colchester Gladiators and the Ipswich Cardinals, where he wore the number 32.



Early career


O'Leary started as a disc jockey at BBC Essex,[6] based in Southend-on-Sea, before becoming a runner on the TV show Light Lunch with Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins and then a presenter at Channel 4 as 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. Also in 2001, O'Leary appeared on Lily Savage's Blankety Blank.[7] In 2004, Dermot hosted the TV show Shattered.

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. On 27 March 2015, O'Leary confirmed that he had quit The X Factor after eight 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.

O'Leary was replaced by Olly Murs and Caroline Flack, who previously co-hosted The Xtra Factor, the behind-the-scenes companion programme, together in 2011 and 2012.[8]

On 29 March 2016, O'Leary returned to The X Factor as a presenter, replacing Murs and Flack, for the show's 13th series. In a statement, he said:

"I'm very flattered to be asked back to The X Factor, and am currently dusting off my dancing shoes. There is nothing more exciting than hosting live TV on a Saturday night. The show is naturally very close to my heart, after having hosted it for 8 years. I’m really looking forward to it, and excited to be back."[9]

From 2010 to 2019, O'Leary presented the National Television Awards for ITV. Since 2010, O'Leary has hosted Soccer Aid on ITV, a celebrity football match in aid of the charity Unicef. In 2011, O'Leary hosted the Saturday night entertainment show The Marriage Ref on ITV. In September 2013, O'Leary hosted BRITs Icon: Elton John, a one-off music celebration for ITV.

In 2013, O'Leary presented the ITV campaign From the Heart, which encouraged viewers to consider organ donation. In January 2014, O'Leary filled in for Phillip Schofield for a week when he guest presented This Morning opposite Holly Willoughby.[10]

In 2017, O'Leary co-presented the 37th BRIT Awards with Emma Willis. In March 2017, O'Leary guest-presented nine episodes of The Nightly Show on ITV.

In November 2020, it was announced that Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford had been dropped from their Friday slot on This Morning after 14 years. Alison Hammond and O'Leary were announced to takeover the slot later that month.[11] They presented their first show in January 2021.

Channel 4


On 27 November 2007, it was announced that Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack was to be O'Leary's last series of Big Brother. After seven years, he made his final Big Brother appearance on 28 January 2008.

In March 2007, O'Leary signed a year-long contract with Channel 4 to appear on Hollyoaks.[citation needed] However, this was shortened after a series of disputes on set. Jim Rowe, a series writer at the time, said, "He couldn't follow even the simplest commands. It goes to show how vastly different presenting is to acting". O'Leary hasn't acted since.[citation needed] In 2009, O'Leary presented an episode of The Paul O'Grady Show, standing in for Paul O'Grady.

In March 2014, O'Leary made a return to Channel 4, where he presented the Live From Space season for three consecutive nights.[12]

O'Leary was a presenter for Comic Relief in 2005, 2011 and 2013. He also presented Sport Relief in 2012. 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 May 2009, O'Leary became the presenter of Matt Lucas and David Walliams's show Rock Profile on BBC.[13]

In March 2010, O'Leary hosted a spin-off edition of the BBC One show Question Time aimed at first time voters, which aired on BBC Three.[14] He also presented Dermot Meets..., a series which saw him interview the likes of David Cameron, Gordon Brown, and Nick Clegg.

In November 2015, O'Leary replaced Terry Wogan on Children in Need due to Wogan's cancer-related ill health, from which he died a couple of months later.[15]

In 2016, O'Leary presented the BBC One Saturday night game show The Getaway Car. The series was filmed in November 2015 and began airing in January 2016.[16] He has also guest-presented two episodes of The One Show with Alex Jones.



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

O'Leary joined BBC Radio 2 in September 2004, presenting a Saturday afternoon show titled Dermot's Saturday Club, which ran from 2 pm to 4 pm. 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 was broadcast between 3 pm and 6 pm from April 2009[citation needed] until its end on 21 January 2017. It focused on new music and had featured live sessions. O'Leary also hosted Radio 2's coverage of the BRIT Awards and South by Southwest. He won Sony Gold Awards for Music Programme of the Year in 2008, 2010, and 2013.[17]

Since March 2017, O'Leary has presented the Saturday morning breakfast show on BBC Radio 2 between 8 am and 10 am, taking over the slot from Brian Matthew and Sounds of the 60s, which moved to an earlier time of 6am with Tony Blackburn as presenter.[1]

O'Leary sits in for Zoe Ball's Radio 2 breakfast show when she's off for a holiday or on a break.

Other work


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.[18][19]

In 2015, he was named one of GQ's 50 Best Dressed Men in Britain.[20]

He has voiced television advertisements for Amazon Prime. In 2017, he released a children's book called Toto the Ninja Cat and the Great Snake Escape.[21] In 2024, he released another children's book called Wings of Glory.[22]

Charity work


O'Leary opened The Rodillian Academy in 2001. He is one of nine presidents of the Young People's Trust for the Environment[23] and is a patron of the international children's film festival CineMagic, a registered charity for young people based in Belfast.[24] He has campaigned on behalf of Make Poverty History, and 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.[25][26]

In 2005, O'Leary ran the London Marathon for the third time, completing it for his first time under four hours.

In 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.[27]

For Red Nose Day 2015, O'Leary participated in a 24-hour dance to raise money for Comic Relief.[28]

Personal life


O'Leary married his long-term girlfriend, Dee Koppang, in Chiddingstone in September 2012.[29][30] They have one son, Kasper, who was born in June 2020.[31]

In a 2003 interview, O'Leary praised the Socialist Workers Party but quipped that they would "take all of [his] money", so he instead supported the Labour Party.[32] He supports Arsenal F.C. and London Irish RFC.[33] He can be heard on the Footballistically Arsenal podcast with his friends and fellow Arsenal fans Dan Baldwin and Boyd Hilton; on the show, it was mentioned that he owns shares in the club. He supports Wexford GAA in Gaelic games. During a studio guest appearance on Fantasy Football Euro 2004, he spoke of his support for the Republic of Ireland national football team and the national rugby union team.

In 2007, O'Leary was an usher at the wedding of Holly Willoughby.[34] He is a practising Roman Catholic.[35] In an interview with Peter Stanford of the Daily Telegraph in February 2008, he "cheerfully" admitted using contraception while living with his future wife: "I do get it in the neck from some Catholics who say I am a buffet Catholic, picking and choosing the bits I like or don't like."[36]

O'Leary co-owned the Fishy Fishy restaurants in Brighton and Poole.[37] The Poole restaurant closed in 2013,[38] and the Brighton restaurant closed in 2016.[39]


Year Title Role Notes
1998–2001 T4 Presenter
1999 The Dog's Balearics
2000 The Barfly Sessions
2000, 2008, 2009 Never Mind the Buzzcocks Guest Team Captain / Guest Presenter 3 episodes
2001–2008 Big Brother's Little Brother Presenter
2002 Top of the Pops 2 episodes
2002–2003 Re:covered
2002–2004 SAS: Are You Tough Enough? 3 series
2003 Teen Big Brother: The Experiment
2004 Shattered 7 episodes
2005, 2011–2013 Comic Relief Co-presenter Annually; 3 episodes
2006 Morning Glory Presenter
2006–2007 1 vs. 100 2 series
2007–2014, 2016–2018 The X Factor 11 series
2008 Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack
2009 Rock Profile Series 3
2010 Question Time: First Time Voters One-off episode
Dermot Meets... 1 series
A League of Their Own Guest Team Captain 2 episodes
2010–present Soccer Aid Co-presenter Annually; 7 episodes with Kirsty Gallacher
2010–2019 The National Television Awards Presenter 10 ceremonies
2011 Live from the Royal Wedding One–off episode
The Marriage Ref 1 series
2012 Sport Relief Co–presenter 1 episode, with Davina McCall
2013 From the Heart Presenter One–off episode
BRITs Icon: Elton John
2014 Live From Space Presenter 3 episodes
2014, 2020 This Morning Stand–in Co–presenter 9 episodes
2015 Children in Need Co-presenter Main role, with Tess Daly and Fearne Cotton
2016 The Getaway Car Presenter 1 series
The One Show Guest Presenter 2 episodes
2017 BRIT Awards Co-presenter 37th event with Emma Willis
The Nightly Show Guest Presenter 9 episodes
2018 The Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Commentator 2 episodes
Reel Stories: Kylie Minogue Host BBC Two programme
2019 Icons: The Greatest Person of the 20th Century Category Presenter ("Advocate") 2 episodes
Small Fortune Presenter 1 series
The X Factor: Celebrity
The X Factor: The Band
2020 One World: Together at Home Co–presenter One–off special
Goodwood SpeedWeek Presenter
2021 British Academy Film Awards Co–presenter With Edith Bowman[40]
The Pet Show With Joanna Page[41]
An Audience with Arsène Wenger and David Dein Presenter One–off special[42]
48 Hours to Victory Co-presenter Three-part Channel 4 series[43]
Reel Stories: Sting Presenter BBC Two programme[44]
2021–present This Morning Co-presenter Fridays; with Alison Hammond
2022 Reel Stories: Robbie Williams Presenter BBC Two programme[45]
2023 Inside No. 9 Himself 1 episode; “Paraskevidekatriaphobia”[46]
The Chase for Soccer Aid Contestant Soccer Aid celebrity special[47]
Reel Stories: Noel Gallagher Host BBC Two programme[48]
Remarkable Places to Eat Himself Guest; one episode[49]
2024 Saving Lives at Sea in World War II Presenter [50]
The Great Celebrity Bake Off for Stand Up To Cancer Contestant [51]
Reel Stories: Jon Bon Jovi Host BBC Two programme[52]
Reel Stories: Shania Twain Host BBC Two programme[53]
2025 Silence is Golden Host Upcoming series[54]
TBA Dermot’s Taste of Ireland Presenter [55]


Year Network Slot Notes
2001–2002 XFM Weekday mornings
2002–2003 Saturday evenings Show called The Weekender
2004–2005 BBC Radio 2 Saturdays 2 – 4 pm Show called Dermot's Saturday Club
2005–2006 Saturdays 5 – 7 pm
2006–2007 Saturdays 4:30 – 6:30 pm 2 pm – 4 pm (during The X Factor months)
2008–2009 Saturdays 2 – 5 pm
2009–2017 Saturdays 3 – 6 pm
2017– Saturdays 8 – 10 am Show called Saturday Breakfast with Dermot


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