X FAC­TOR AND CAT CHAT WITH DER­MOT

WE talk X Fac­tor, cats and a cheese-tas­tic new book with TV pre­sen­ter and au­thor Der­mot O’Leary.

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Tell us a bit about your new book, Toto The Ninja Cat And The In­cred­i­ble Cheese Heist.

Toto is set­tling into Lon­don life with her brother, when a parch­ment turns up – al­most in Trea­sure Is­land style – with a black paw print. She re­alises this is her sum­mons for her first mis­sion. Her boss is Larry the Down­ing Street cat. He’s head of the UK branch of the In­ter­na­tional Or­der of Cat Nin­jas. All the cheese in the UK, and let’s just say the world, has gone miss­ing! She has to track it down be­cause there’s an in­ter­na­tional peace con­fer­ence in two weeks’ time and the UK prime min­is­ter is famed for her cheese board. With­out cheese, world peace is at risk! Toto has to go un­der­cover to track down who has kid­napped all the cheese, find out what their mo­tives are and get it back to Down­ing Street asap.

Are you go­ing to send the book to Down­ing Street so that they can read all about Larry?

Ab­so­lutely! I met some peo­ple who worked for the Cabi­net Of­fice at the Pride of Bri­tain awards last year and sent it to them. Ad­mit­tedly they are quite busy, so it took them a while to read it, but they said they re­ally liked it! They did ask if I wanted to come and meet Larry, but they said: “We have to tell you he’s the world’s most un­friendly cat.” Ha ha!

You’re go­ing to be at the Bath Chil­dren’s Lit­er­ary Fes­ti­val this year. Have you been to Bath be­fore?

I have done two Bath half marathons and I love it there!

Do you ever won­der what your cats do when you’re not around, or where they go?

Oh yeah! The thing with that is, we all won­der it, but what they do most of the time is sleep!

I think they think: “While my own­ers are out I’m go­ing to have a lit­tle nap.” This book is kind of imag­in­ing what else they might get up to when you’re out or asleep. The first book is about what hap­pens at night and this one is more af­ter­noon. We’re all ob­sessed with the se­cret life of cats, aren’t we?

How is the new se­ries of X Fac­tor go­ing?

Oh, it’s been ace! It’s been bril­liant. Rob­bie is a born judge. The great thing about Rob­bie is that when they go out for a toi­let break or what-not, then come back, we play mu­sic to get the au­di­ence go­ing again. Quite often it’s An­gels or some­thing. Rob­bie will just pick up the mic and start singing along and be­fore you know it, 5,000 peo­ple are at a Rob­bie Wil­liams con­cert for two min­utes.

Do you think you know the win­ner?

I’m not bad – my pick nor­mally goes into the fi­nal three. I picked Rak-Su last year. I think the girls look re­ally strong this year.

Do you think you’d ever do a re­al­ity TV show your­self?

I think it would de­pend on the show. I think there was one a cou­ple of years ago where you could con­duct an or­ches­tra or learn how to be a painter or some­thing. That kind of ap­peals, but noth­ing that would take me away from my work. I wouldn’t want to do some­thing just to be on telly. So you wouldn’t do Strictly? No!

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