The Irish stars UK TV wouldn’t be the same without

On St Patrick's day we celebrate some of the best and brightest Irish men and women who've made a valuable contribution to British television

Dermot O’Leary

Many an autumn Saturday night starts with Dermot O’Leary but did you know he’s actually Irish? Actually, the name’s a bit of a giveaway. Though he was born and raised in Colchester, the X Factor host still calls the county town of Wexford in Ireland (where his parents are from) home. And he’s quite the fan of the traditional Irish tunes too.


Perhaps the Irish charm is partially to blame for O’Leary’s rise from Channel 4’s Popworld to Big Brother’s Little Brother to ITV’s X Factor and beyond. Or maybe hard work, talent and the ‘luck of the Irish’ has something to do with it.

Dermot Morgan

He was an icon of Irish comedy for decades before breaking on to the UK scene but Dermot Morgan made more of an impact on UK audiences in three series of Father Ted than many comedians could in a lifetime.

The Dublin born former English teacher spent most of his life carving out a high profile comedy career in Ireland, notably playing a priest by the name of Father Trendy long before Ted came on the scene. He died less than 24 hours after filming the final episode of series three but the iconic character won him a Bafta, not to mention a great deal of love, and secured his place in UK TV history.

Liz Bonnin

The Irish don’t just do TV comedy you know. Just ask the brilliantly brainy Liz Bonnin. Born in France to a Trinidadian mother and a French father, she was raised in Ireland from the age of nine and even went on to join an Irish girl group called Chill.


Bonin honed her craft in Ireland with presenting roles in children’s and light entertainment television before co-hosting fashion series Off The Rails. She made the switch to science and nature broadcasting in the UK back in 2005, and is now probably best known for educating UK audiences via Bang Goes The Theory, Countrywise and Horizon to name but a few.