Dermot O'Leary thinks that Simon Cowell should take The X Factor off air for a year and then return to the room auditions.

O'Leary is certainly a man who knows a thing or two about The X Factor having hosted the show for eight years. He parted ways with the talent show in 2014, but has kept a keen eye on the contest since.

With the show struggling to reach its previous heady viewing figures, O'Leary has suggested that head honcho Cowell needs to take the show off the air for a year and then return to its original format.

Speaking to The Radio Times, O'Leary said: "If I was Simon I'd take it off air for a year. I'd rest it, and then I'd get back to the rooms. For me it was always room, arena, boot camp."

The X Factor previously featured in-room auditions where the prospective contestants sang solely for the judges, but these were replaced by arena auditions in front of a live audience.

Recent years have also seen the introduction of the Six Chair Challenge, where the contestants are whittled down and must give up their chairs when the judges decide another singer is better.

"I was really uncomfortable about the Six Chair Challenge," O'Leary said. "I don't think it's a particularly nice bit of television."

On his decision to quit, he said: "I lived for the live shows. And I was still having fun doing them, but it got to the point where I couldn't develop anything else. And you've only got one life, haven't you?"

The TV presenter is about to return with his new series The Getaway Car, which sees contestants taking on assault courses guided by their loved ones. The contestants who make it to the final round get to take on the Stig for a £10,000 prize.

O'Leary explained: "At its heart, it's Total Wipeout with an element of Gogglebox chucked in."

The Getaway Car begins on BBC One on January 16