Dermot O'Leary is a former member of the Big Brother UK presenting team. He began as the host of spin-off show Big Brother's Little Brother, a magazine program that aired in conjunction with the main series. He subsequently became the main host of special series Teen Big Brother: The Experiment and Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack.
Dermot began his career in television as a runner on Channel 4 daytime television programme Light Lunch, hosted by Mel & Sue. His first presenting role came when he joined the launch line-up for Channel 4's youth strand, T4.
After joining Big Brother, Dermot landed several high-profile presenting gigs. His credits include BBC One gameshows 1 vs. 100 and The Getaway Car, ITV's The Marriage Ref and Soccer Aid, and the Comic Relief and Sport Relief telethons. Since 2010, he has hosted the annual National Television Awards ceremonies. He also works in radio, and has been a Saturday presenter on BBC Radio 2 since 2004.
In 2017, he hosted The BRIT Awards alongside current Big Brother UK (BBUK) presenter Emma Willis.
Association with Big Brother
After BBUK proved a success, broadcaster Channel 4 expanded the show for its second series in 2001 by adding a new spin-off, Big Brother's Little Brother, also known as 'BBLB'. It was a magazine format complimenting the main show, with features including interviews with evicted housemates and celebrity superfans, news updates on the latest house action and viewer phone-ins. Dermot's involvement in T4 led to him becoming the presenter of BBLB. Actress Natalie Casey initially appeared as his co-presenter, but she departed during during BB2, leaving Dermot as BBLB's sole host.
In 2003, following the fourth series of BBUK, Dermot became the main host of special series Teen Big Brother: The Experiment, which unlike most series of BBUK was entirely pre-recorded.
Dermot continued to present BBLB, which aired on Channel 4 and E4 variously alongside regular and Celebrity series of Big Brother. During the fourth Celebrity series in January 2006, it was moved to an early morning timeslot on Channel 4 and temporarily renamed 'Big Brother's Little Breakfast'; it returned to its usual timeslot and name for the seventh regular series later in the year.
In the run-up to the eighth series of BBUK, it was announced that Dermot had signed up to become the new frontman of ITV's music talent contest, The X Factor. Initially, this did not affect his role on BBLB, and he returned for BB8.
However, the two shows soon began to clash, as Dermot had to present BBLB live six days a week at the Big Brother house while travelling back and forth from filming The X Factor at locations around the UK. Dermot's said it was "impractical if not impossible" to continue on both shows, and following BB8 he chose to leave Big Brother in order to concentrate on his more prominent role on The X Factor.
On November 27th, 2007, it was announced that Dermot would end his time on BBUK by becoming the main host of special series Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack, which aired exclusively on E4 in January 2008 as a replacement for Celebrity Big Brother, following its temporary suspension as a result of the racism row. In addition to the live launch, evictions and final, Dermot continued to host BBLB.
On Day 25 of Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack, Dermot briefly took over the Big Brother house as one of the celebrity hijackers.
Dermot's last regular appearance on BBUK was the final of Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack on January 28th, 2008. Earlier that day, during the last episode of BBLB in the series, he was given an on-air send-off, including his own best bits VT.
Dermot returned to BBUK for a guest appearance during the Ultimate Big Brother finale on September 10th, 2010, as part of the festivities marking the show's end on Channel 4. He presented a special entitled 'Big Brother: Dermot's Last Supper', which saw him joined by 11 former housemates for a discussion about memorable moments from over the years.
In addition to his roles on BBLB, Teen Big Brother and Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack, Dermot also presented or narrated a number of one-off Big Brother specials that aired on Channel 4 or E4 in the run-up to new Big Brother series. These included:
- Big Brother: Top 50 Moments (pre-BB5)
- Big Brother: Living With Evil (pre-CBB3)
- Big Brother: Most Funniest Moments (pre-BB6)
- Big Brother: Most Outrageous Moments (pre-BB6)
- Big Brother: Top 20 Housemates (pre-BB6)
- Big Brother: The Celebrity Years (pre-CBB4)
- Big Brother: Top 20 Housemates (pre-BB7)
- The Best of Celebrity Big Brother 2006 (pre-CBB5)
- Big Brother: Around The World (pre-Hijack)
- Dermot has only hosted special series or spin-off programs; he has never hosted a regular or Celebrity season of BBUK.
- During the three series of BBUK that main host Davina McCall presented while pregnant, Dermot was kept on standby during live shows in case she was unable to appear.
- During the sixth series of The X Factor in 2009, Dermot made an infamous slip-up on live TV when he referred to the contestants as 'housemates'. This mistake was widely believed to be connected to his time on Big Brother.