Question Time: Dermot O'Leary, Presenter

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The Independent Online

Work: Dermot O'Leary, 35, hosts 'The X Factor' and presents a Saturday afternoon show on BBC Radio 2

Life: Girlfriend Dee is a television director; lives in Highbury, north London

Balance: Cooking, keeping fit, diving and fishing

Do you worry The X Factor will overshadow the rest of your career?

I hope not, but when you get offered a job like that you can't turn it down. I got assurances I could make it my own and help to write it. As long as I can keep my personality on the show, I'm happy.

Dannii or Cheryl?

Obviously I can't answer that, but what's surprised me is the way you can say one thing and it can be deliberately misinterpreted. Direct quotes are used with poisonous words spread around them, and light witticisms become a blistering tirade.

What inspired you to follow a career in broadcasting?

I wanted to be an actor but when I saw myself doing amateur dramatics aged 13 I realised why my dad thought that was such a laughable idea. I have a politics degree and I never thought I'd end up in entertainment – I'm supposed to be working on Newsnight or Panorama!

What was your first break?

T4.

Describe your Radio 2 show.

We do that "Saturday afternoon in your bedroom playing your favourite music with your mates" thing.

Have things calmed down since Sachsgate?

It makes you worry, because we get quite cheeky on our show and you don't want all your content suddenly subjected to scrutiny and red tape.

Who in the industry would you most like to work with?

I'd love to work with Josie D'Arby again. She's one of the most instinctive presenters I've ever worked with. The people who got me into television through watching them are Jonathan Ross and Terry Wogan.

What is your dream job?

I'm happiest when I'm doing live TV. If I could do a live show every day, that would be great.

What's next?

Shows for Radio 2 in January, including one where people play the songs that changed their lives.

What are your desert island media?

Vanity Fair, The Independent, Radio 5 Live drivetime with Peter Allen, Dad's Army.

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