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Dermot O’Leary returns to The X Factor

Dermot O'Leary

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PA

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All smiles: O’Leary said he was “flattered” to be asked back on to the show as its presenter

Dermot O’Leary has said he is “really looking forward” to returning to The X Factor as its presenter – just a year after he left the ITV talent show.

He said he was “very flattered to be asked back” and was “currently dusting off my dancing shoes”.

The programme’s boss Simon Cowell said: “Dermot’s back, hooray! And so is his dancing! Welcome home, Dermot.”

O’Leary left X Factor after “eight wonderful years” and was replaced by Olly Murs and Caroline Flack.

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Cowell, pictured with a fan, welcomed O’Leary back “home” to the show

Famed for his dance routines, O’Leary did a 24-hour dance marathon for Comic Relief last year.

He also presents a show on BBC Radio Two and BBC One’s Saturday night show The Getaway Car, which debuted to mixed reviews.

He said: “There is nothing more exciting than hosting live TV on a Saturday night. The show is naturally very close to my heart, after having hosted it for eight years.

“I’m excited to be back.”

Thames TV boss Richard Holloway described O’Leary as “a much-loved part of The X Factor and one of the best presenters in the business”, while ITV director of TV Kevin Lygo said he was “an important part of the ITV family”.

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The presenter, pictured with Caroline Flack, danced for 24 hours for charity in 2015

Murs and Flack’s tenure was accompanied by falling audience figures, and was consistently beaten by the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.

The number of viewers tuning in for the opening episode of last year’s X Factor fell by well over one million in comparison with 2014.

In November last year, Murs apologised to X Factor fans for mistakenly telling contestant Monica Michael she was leaving the show before the official announcement.

Murs and Flack announced they were leaving the show in February after just one series, less than a week after Nick Grimshaw announced he would not be returning as a judge.

The show is also seeing the return of the room auditions, in which hopefuls sing for the judges face to face in an intimate setting. If they impress three or more of the judges, they move on to the next stage of the competition.

X Factor has propelled a number of singers to stardom, including One Direction, who finished third in 2010 and have sold more than 70m records worldwide.

Former contestant Murs, who came second to Joe McElderry in 2009, has had four multi-platinum albums and Little Mix – the first group to win in 2011 – have sold 3.3m albums globally.

The revamped show will return this autumn.

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