Dermot O'Leary on the 'degrading, embarrassing, introspective' period of time he spent on the dole

The X Factor presenter says he “wouldn’t wish” the experience on anyone

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The Independent Online

Dermot O’Leary has described “the shame” of having to sign on to the dole in the earlier stages of his career.

Now a long-term The X Factor presenter, O’Leary handed out 300 CVs in the early Nineties when work was scarce.

He was hired as a runner and later was offered a job presenting a show that never got made. Eventually, he signed on for Jobseeker’s Allowance.

"I was by now broke and whilst I've never shied away from hard graft, I was forced to go on the dole for a few weeks as I looked for relevant work," he wrote in his autobiography, The Soundtrack to My Life.

"For me it was the most degrading, embarrassing, introspective, self-doubting time of my life. I wouldn't wish it on anyone, but for the impact it had on me, I wouldn't change a minute of it.

"I told no one about it. It was the shame I felt going to sign on every two weeks and the look of resignation on the faces around me," he continued.

O’Leary was then signed by an agent and found work as a researcher on Channel 4’s Light Lunch.

He went onto present numerous shows such as 4's The Barfly Sessions, RE:COVERED and Dermot's Sporting Buddies, before in 2001 being hired to front of Big Brother's Little Brother.

In 2007, he began presenting The X Factor.

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