Entertainment & Arts

Dermot O'Leary 'never wants to dance again' after Comic Relief marathon

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Media captionDermot O'Leary told the BBC's Mark Savage his mother said he had "never been a natural dancer"

Dermot O'Leary has successfully completed his 24-hour dance marathon for Comic Relief.

The Radio 2 presenter and X Factor host raised £643,336 by gyrating non-stop outside BBC Broadcasting House.

Along the way, he danced during a weather report on BBC Breakfast, and was guided through a Charleston by Strictly champion Caroline Flack.

When his fundraising total was revealed live on BBC One, his eyes welled up with tears.

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Media captionDermot dances the weather with Carol Kirkwood

Asked by Lenny Henry about the state of his feet after 24 hours on the dancefloor, he said: "They've seen better days, my friend."

O'Leary was buoyed up during his dancing feat by hundreds of supporters who turned up to cheer him on in London.

He was also serenaded by Rastamouse and forced to Morris dance by Sir Terry Wogan, who accompanied O'Leary with a ropey rendition of his novelty hit, The Floral Dance.

Celebrity supporters included Davina McCall, Jamie Oliver, Little Mix, Rufus Hound, Keith Lemon and an over-enthusiastic Geri Halliwell, who nearly pulled him to the ground during Gina G's Ooh Ahh... Just A Little Bit.

His danceathon supported Comic Relief projects in the UK and abroad, including a charity that helps street children in Kenya, some of whom O'Leary met earlier this month.

"It was extraordinary," he said. "I met these three young men, two 12-year-olds and a 14-year-old, who've had to grow up [young] because they don't have the safety net we have in this country.

"Their lives are just so stark. They live on a day-to-day basis, they try and make as much money as they can to survive and all they want to do is go to school."

While filming with the children in the city of Kisumu, O'Leary spent a night sleeping rough on the streets - where he narrowly avoided being hit by a car, which skidded off the road and fell into a ditch near where they had bedded down for the night.

The presenter spoke to BBC News as he struggled through his 19th hour on the dancefloor.

Image copyright Red nose day
Image caption The star receives a quick massage during a toilet break

Congratulations on making it this far. How are your feet?

The feet are fine until anyone asks me that question, and then I think about them!

But they're ok. My knees are sore.

The funny thing is, whenever I stop for a toilet break - and there are many, because I keep drinking fluids - I keep swaying downstairs to carry on the dancing theme.

Will you be dancing in your sleep tonight?

Oh, man: No. I'm never going to dance again in my whole life. I swear. I swear.

Have you kept track of how long you've got left to go?

Here's the thing. I was always a big fan of Regency architecture, and I've got a radio studio around the corner from here, so I walk around this piazza quite often and see All Souls Church.

Normally, I look at it and think it's just a beautiful spectacle. Now, I never want to see it again in my entire life. Because there's a clock tower at the top and, whenever I look at it, it lies to me! It moves so slowly!

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Media captionJohn Bishop joined Dermot dancing as Sir Terry sang The Floral Dance

You've become famous for your X Factor dances...

I sincerely hope I haven't become famous for my X Factor dances!

Haha. But has the experience helped you prepare for today?

The thing about the X Factor is that, quite often, you don't even know you're doing the dance until it happens.

That happened to me once last year. The doors are about to go. It's a big night, I've been preparing all week for it. I've got my microphone, the script's in my head. And out of nowhere four dancing girls appeared.

I was like, "Alright? Any reason why you're here?"

"Oh, we're doing a dance"

"We haven't rehearsed a dance."

So I went out in front of 10 million people, not actually knowing what the dance was. Then, of course, you go on social media and there's loads of people going, "hey, you berk, you don't know how to dance." Well, I know!

Image caption Strictly champion Caroline Flack puts Dermot through his paces

What songs have you chosen to help you get through the day?

I did the draw for the FA Cup on Monday, so I went up to Manchester. And I went through all my iTunes and sent my producers a list of 500 songs. About two of them have been played. I feel so hard done by.

What's the one you really want to hear?

This is going to sound odd but it's the Arctic Monkeys, Do I Wanna Know? - which isn't a particularly dancey song.

But it's got a proper groove.

Exactly, and I can get a good strut on to that.

Image copyright Red Nose Day
Image caption The presenter has been supported by hundreds of fans outside the BBC's Broadcasting House

Do you think of yourself as a natural dancer?

I spoke to my mum yesterday and she wished me good luck, on the phone, and she just said to me: "You know what, you've never been a natural dancer but I'm sure you'll do very well."

I was quite nervous anyway, and I'm thinking, 'thanks a bunch, mum'. I know I'm not the greatest dancer in the world, but I'm not that bad!

At least you haven't done a Madonna yet.

We've done some Voguing.

I was thinking more about her Brit Awards performance...

Oh, I see. There's still six-hours to go my friend.

No cloaks, then?

This is a cloak-free zone.

Image caption O'Leary is hoping to help push Comic Relief's cumulative fundraising total over the £1bn barrier

You can watch the BBC's Red Nose Day coverage on BBC Iplayer.

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