Dermot O’Leary – who fronts British TV talent show ‘The X Factor’ – admits he was pleasantly surprised when he first started working on the programme because the head panelist is not as tough as he is perceived.

Dermot said: “I think the whole Mr. Nasty think was always a bit of a facade. When I first started I expected him to be some ogre but he’s not like that at all.

“What’s great about Simon is that with someone awful yet quite fragile, he’s a metaphorical arm around the shoulder far more than you think he is. If people can handle it they’ll get it, but you see people come on and get booed and he’ll make sure they walk off that stage feeling a million dollars.

“He’s a lot nicer than people give him credit for.”

Though Dermot admits he enjoys working with Simon, he and the rest of the people who work with the music mogul hate to let him down.

He added: “Don’t get me wrong, he’s still my boss, but he’s sort of a Victorian father – you’d hate to let him down. On the occasion that happens I literally feel sick.”

While Dermot would love to continue working with Simon by taking a role on the US ‘X Factor’ he is trying not to worry about it.

He said: “I’m keeping my head out of it. I want to do it but I’m being philosophical about it. If I get it that’s fantastic and if I don’t, I don’t.”