Dermot: It’s personal
Love ogling O'Leary? He's DJing at Ascot Races and Muddy's got all the goss on his *coughs* tooooit trousers, love of cats and mojitos with Madonna.
Everybody loves Mr Live TV – the deliciously huggable and lover of super-toight trousers, Dermot O’Leary. Best known as The X Factor circus master and Radio 2 DJ, this month Dermot’s in charge of the after party at Ascot Races on Qipco King George Day, Sat 27 Jul. Expect fabulous floor fillers and a showbiz turnout for a day of top flight racing.
But if we’re gonna spend the night with Dermot, we thought we’d better get to know the Essex-Irish saucepot a little better. So after a good rummage through his sock drawer and bins (joking), we’re speed dating our way into Dermot’s life… Ready to get personal?
1/ He’s actually called Sean
I know, it’s a shocker. You think you know a person and someone drops this kinda bombshell. Dermot’s real name is Sean Dermot Fintan O’Leary Jr. Born 24 May 1973 in Colchester to Irish parents Sean and Maria, he’s extremely proud of his Irish roots and holds dual Irish-British citizenship. It’s like he knew Brexit was looming…
He now lives in London’s celebtastic Primrose Hill with his gorgeous wife Dee Koppang (pictured above), a TV producer and director who is currently working on The Crown. They also have homes in Puglia and south west France.
2/ He’s a poster boy for the Catholic church
Just like Cliff Richard and Tom Cruise, Derm’s out of the faith closet and has the poster and t shirt to prove it, having appeared in a number of campaigns for the Catholic development agency, CAFOD. “I had a classic plastic Paddy upbringing… but 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. But I’m not interested in preaching from the rooftops. All I do is show in public my own faith. I was brought up with it and I still practise.”
He’s been known to fall asleep saying his bedtime prayers… the same thing happens to us when we’re shopping the Net-A-Porter sale. Same problem, different church.
3/ The battle of the bulge
Oh we’re not talking about six packs and fitness levels. Like all stars, he’s got a personal trainer kicking his butt into shape. Nope, it’s the national fascination with his trouser bulge, that we’re interested in. There are many many press stories, screen shots and Twitter accounts devoted, to this one subject . “It’s so surreal. It’s not like I’m asking for a tighter fit or anything.” The frenzy even saw a ratings rise during one exposing episode of The X Factor.
On another episode, he experienced a wardrobe malfunction wearing tight Alexander McQueen suit. “I felt the trousers rip…from pole to pole, shall we say. I just had to skilfully apply a safety pin and hope for the best. It was terrifying.”Perhaps steer clear of the tight trews, Derm, you’ll have someone’s eye out.
4/ He’s got fashion rules…
We’re all guilty of fashion crimes, and Dermot is no stranger either. Apparently the the denim bolero and baggy clothing phase was a low point. We’ve all been there. My perm and shell suit days still haunt me. “I grew up watching things like Miami Vice, so did white jackets and Aviators. We were all rocking the Slazenger V-neck look to, which I loved.” Just don’t wear flip flops or sandals in town, fellas. It’s an O’Leary no-no. “Why would you do that? Women’s feet are beautiful; men’s feet are disgusting.”
5/ He’s a pussy magnate
Naughty… Derm’s a proud cat dad and his pet adventures have inspired three children’s books starring his blind, ninja cat, Toto. “My wife Dee and I never set out to have cats, but we’ve got a place in Italy and there was always a very friendly stray hanging around. Over the years, we fed her, and one trip, when I had to fly back early for work, my wife Dee stayed up all night delivering the stray’s kittens. That was a sign, so we ended up bringing two of them home. Toto absolutely adores Dee and prefers her to me – I get it, I’d prefer her too.”
6/ His biggest influence was Wogan and, er… Earnest Shackleton
Who’s inspired the Dermatron to TV super stardom? Jonathan Ross? Nope. Chris Evans? Nah. The legendary Terry Wogan? Sort of. Seeing a live recording of Sir Terry, aged eight, was a pivotal moment, but his no1 TV idol is… umm, Ernest Shackleton – British polar explorer and Antarctic hard man. Not sure you can really call him a TV idol, Derm. “He was a terrific showman and a wonderful leader of men.” Well we didn’t see that coming.
Wogan is a close second. When Derm began working at Radio 2 he found himself at a dinner with legendary Terry, where the two bonded over similar upbringings and Irish rugby. Wogan gave his protégé a piece of advice: “If there is one thing about radio, he said, it was to ‘never be afraid of the silence’. In a tribute to Wogan, O’Leary wrote after the veteran broadcaster died in 2016, ‘Never be afraid of the silence – I’ll try, Terry, but it’s deafening in your absence.’”
7/ Last minute entry for Prime Minister
Dermot studied Media and Politics at Middlesex Uni (graduating with a 2:2) and although his CV is a glittering list of entertainment shows, he LOVES politics and given the chance, Dermot would like to become Prime Minister. Can we put him up against Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt? Pleeeeeaaaase. “I have always loved politics. If you gave me a week, I’d like to be the Prime Minister. If it’s only for 24 hours, I’d quite like to be John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, during Prime Minister’s Questions.” He’d get our vote.
8/ He’s very superstitious
He’s confessed to dancing in his pants and listening to ‘a very rigid playlist’ before a gig including, surprisingly, The Dubliners’ Rocky Road to Dublin. But taking the superstitious habits way beyond that he kisses windows. “This is really weird but I kiss the window before I go to bed each night,” he admits. “I don’t why, I’ve just always done it. Even when I’m drunk, I don’t forget.” O…K… then.
9/ Sharing a Mojito with Madonna
Yes, her Madgesty propped up the bar with Dermot and, for once, it didn’t take a bizarre twist. “Halfway through my interview with her, she said, ‘What kind of cocktails do they do here?’ and immediately you’re like ‘THINK OF A THING! AAAAH I DONT KNOW!’ and then someone said they had mojitos so she was like ‘OK after this we’re going to have mojitos’,” he remembers. ‘ You think, well, we’re not really going to are we. But we wrapped the interview, and she said ‘OK come on let’s go!’ so 15 minutes later, myself and my producer (who was beside himself) were at a cocktail bar.’ What did they talk about?! ‘Oh, smalltalk. Madonna is her own woman, and really strong, but I found her really personable!’
10/ What kinda music will he play at Ascot?
If you could see through all the festival and glitter and you weren’t fully loaded on pear cider, you may’ve witnessed Dermot’s DJ set at Glastonbury, Latitude and Goodwood. He loves music, especially indie and rock, and he and Dee even had Deptford-based indie rock band, Athlete, play at their wedding. His DJ set is being kept a closely guarded secret, there will be a floor fillers and cheesy crowd pleasers aplenty. Simply grab a cocktail and that’s your Saturday night sorted.
Dermot O’Leary will be DJing on Sat 27 Jul at Qipco King George Day. Book tickets here.