Dermot O’Leary’s 24-hour dance for Comic Relief may have been the result of a drunken idea (and also my fault, but we’ll get to that), however booze was most definitely banned during the overnight stint.
It was after a few drinks at a friend’s party last year that the Radio 2 and X Factor host came up with the idea. A quick late-night text to charity founder Richard Curtis, and bam, it was in the diary, booked. But there was nothing stronger than a sports drink on offer during the actual event, held outside and in BBC’s Broadcasting House.
“One of my mates said ‘Shall I get you a beer?’ and I asked the Comic Relief doctor Greg and he literally turned around to me with a straight face and said, ‘You will die. No.’,” O’Leary laughs, speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com today while, of course, nursing some pretty sore knees.
But while a cold pint might have seemed, for want of a better phrase, exactly what the doctor ordered after several hours of hip wiggling, Dermot admits it was the right decision.
“About eight hours later, I said, ‘You made such a good call’. It would have absolutely floored me. That’s the thing about alcohol, it never picks you up, it just makes you more tired.”
With twice-daily cold baths now on the agenda, Dermot admits he “despised” many hours of his charity feat on his feet, but says it was “extraordinary to do”. And the money raised – a whopping £643,336 to be exact – was pretty overwhelming. “I’m over the moon with the amount of money,” Dermot admits, having been visibly emotional during the final reveal. And for him, making it an inclusive event – where everyone from Keith Lemon to Geri Halliwell turned up to join in the action – was a big part of what it was all about.
But that’s it. Dermettes stand down. There shall be no more asking Dermot to dance. This is a warning levelled at me personally, with Dermot admitting, “This has largely come from you by the way, your healthy petition to reinstate the dance.” I only pestered him for a year after his Dermot Dance disappeared from the opening of The X Factor. No biggie…
“That is officially over,” Dermot warns. And if I needed anymore convincing: “I’d be having stern words with your mother.” Yikes.