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).

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Television -

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.

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