X-Factor star Dermot O’Leary has hailed the “beautiful” V&A Dundee and predicted it could help bring a future series of the popular singing show to the City of Discovery.
The 45-year-old presenter jetted in for his first ever visit to Dundee yesterday and praised Kengo Kuma’s £80 million masterpiece as he revealed the shortlist for this year’s National Television Awards (NTAs) at the venue.
The X-Factor’s production team held open auditions at the Overgate Shopping Centre last year but the show’s famous faces stayed away as hopefuls performed in a mobile singing booth.
O’Leary insisted the design museum could “absolutely” play host to Simon Cowell, Robbie Williams, Louis Tomlinson and the rest of his colleagues from the hit show, and said there was a lot of potential for filming at the venue.
“I had no idea what to expect, if I’m honest with you,” he said.
“I don’t think it got the publicity or certainly I didn’t see it getting the publicity down south, which is odd.
“I love my design, and my wife is big into it, and I love the way it marries really well with the town so you’ve got that lovely east coast, Edinburgh, Aberdeen era of architecture.
“But also it looks really maritime, so the fact it juts out and has that lovely granite feel to it on the outside and yet it feels really Scandinavian inside as well. I could easily see an episode of Wallander being filmed here.”
O’Leary, a member of the Dennis the Menace fan club at the age of 10, said it had been a “career milestone” to meet the prankster and pet dog Gnasher in person at the museum. He was also presented with his own personalised Beano comic.
The TV favourite said he hoped to visit the RRS Discovery after recently filming a BBC documentary on renowned explorers.
And he suggested the X-Factor could “easily” arrive on the shores of the River Tay in the near future.
Tourism chiefs had been locked in discussions for years with Indigo TV, the producers of the NTAs, about a number of different projects that could be brought to Scotland, including a live announcement of nominees.
Awards bosses were keen to move sections of the ceremony outside of London and identified the new landmark museum as an “ideal fit” for yesterday’s unveiling following its opening in September.
Paul Bush, director of events at Visit Scotland, said the decision “reinforces not only the museum’s place as a hub of design and creativity but as key part of the country’s events sector.”
Chief executive Malcolm Roughead said: “This is the very first time that the nominations have been revealed in a live setting outside of London, and it is fitting that V&A Dundee – one of the most exciting and iconic new buildings in the UK – provides the stunning backdrop for such a moment.
“The arrival of V&A Dundee, and other major developments in the city, have helped propel Dundee into the global spotlight and shine a light on all this incredible city, and the surrounding areas, has to offer.
“We hope today’s event will inspire others to consider Dundee as a destination to visit, live and work, study and invest in.”