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.
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!