Who’s ‘in’ for the return of the Dragons?
Eleven years, 14 seasons and 127 shows in, and it’s very much a case of business as usual in the Dragons’ Den (Sunday, BBC2, 9pm).
Despite three new panellists coming on board to breathe fire into BBC2’s ageing business reality show at the beginning of last year, seemingly not much has changed over the last decade and a bit.
The set looks exactly the same as it always has, all pipes, rivets and discarded industrial debris.
And as forth es how’ s format, despite the producers probably being tempted to spice things up in someway, we still see people with big business dreams enter the loft before the fiery beasts of Mammon, ask for some capital investment, and either get humiliated and incinerated, or offered a hand shake and a seat on the Dragons’ express to success.
At the beginning of 2015, long-standing Dragons Peter Jones (the only original one left) and Deborah Meaden, were joined by mens- wear brand Hawes & Curtis founder Touker Suleyman, The Bombay Bicycle Club owner Sarah Willingham and the man behind Moonpig, Nick Jenkins.
This week, i t’s handbags at dawn as high-street textile tycoon Suleyman clashes with the fiery entrepreneurs behind a fledgling fashion business.
The Dragons also pond er the profits in pork scratchings, before a bizarre device for folding paper has the quintet in creases.
During the night, many of the show’s loyal viewers will have sat down with their friends and families and tried to guess the stake, the percentage and the end result, in an Antiques Roadshow kind of way.
But will Jones, Meaden, Suleyman, Willingham or Jenkins be tempted into backing any of the hopeful entrepreneurs?
Of course, for every success story coming out of the Den with thousands of pounds and leg-up on the entrepreneurial ladder -£30 million reggae musician and celebrity chef Levi Roots being the most notable example - there are dozens of poor rejects who have had their ideas ripped to shreds by the investors.
But that doesn’t have to mean the end of the road for an idea does it?
After all, you can’t walk through an airport these days without seeing a child trotting along beside a colourful hardshelled Trunki case or being pulled along bytheir passport wielding parents.
And that was the idea of 2006 Dragon Den reject Rob Law.
Other examples of contestants who have gone on to reach the market with their products despite being turned down by the Dragons include hungryhouse.co.uk, a website for online ordering of home delivered takeaway food, Destination London, a board game, the Tangle Teezer, a hairbrush designed to smooth knotted hair and the BarbeSkew, a rotisserie barbecue. Perhaps it just goes to show, sometimes ‘no’ can actually mean ‘yes’ when you’re in the Den.