Former X Factor host Dermot O’Leary has some advice about the ITV singing contest for head judge Simon Cowell – including taking a break from it altogether...

“If I was Simon I’d take [The X Factor] off air for a year,” O’Leary tells the new issue of Radio Times magazine. “I’d rest it, and then I’d get back to the rooms. For me it was always room [auditions], arena, boot camp.”

O'Leary stepped down ahead of last year’s series after eight years at the helm, before The X Factor dropped the initial in-room auditions in favour of arena performances. That move came as one of a number of format shake-ups, including a new-look Louis Walsh-less panel

O’Leary also thinks the Six Chair Challenge section of the show, which sees acts literally singing for a seat – and is seen by many as unnecessarily stressful – needs to be ditched.

“I was really uncomfortable about the Six Chair Challenge. I don’t think it’s a particularly nice bit of television. One of the reasons people like [X Factor rival] Strictly is because Strictly is a very warm show, and I think you’ve got to keep that in mind.”

Read the full interview with Dermot O’Leary in this week’s Radio Times magazine available in shops from Tuesday 12th January and from Apple Newsstand

Dermot O'Leary's new show The Getaway Car comes to Saturday nights on BBC later this month. O'Leary also returns as host on this year's National Television Awards on ITV.