The “Meet the Dragons” section of the official BBC Dragons’ Den webpage looks a bit dated these days. It still features five scowling millionaires standing against a brick wall in Bristol – but as the more observant members of the business-tainment community will know, Hilary Devey and Theo Paphitis are history.
So, assuming the show is to continue – and that it doesn’t contract like the British economy and end up with only three money-laden egotists in the hotseats – it looks like BBC2 is looking for not one, but two new investors.
But who should they choose? We have a few suggestions...
No, not the shoe bomber, that’s spelt differently – the bloke who co-founded Innocent Drinks. Richard has form, having already fronted his own lightweight yoof version of the show in the shape of Be Your Own Boss on BBC3 – so surely he’s be more than happy to step up to a bigger channel, even if his flowery shirts have to share the limelight with a bunch of scowling “suits”.
If you’re “web-native” (No, I can’t believe I wrote that either) you’ll already be familiar with straight talking Julie’s American charms and European spirit because she’s one of two online-only Dragons who give out up to £50k at a time on the website version of the show. Surely she’s done her time in the world of buffering, and it’s time for Julie to step up to the big screen?
He’s the breakout star of the show (beyond Peter Jones’s world beating band Hamfatter – they’re still big, right?) and it would be a real life fairytale if the sauce-magnate and guitar legend were to end up on the other side of the Den. It’s not clear how much money he makes from his condiments, but round my way they're in every shop, so he must be minted…
John’s mobile phone business netted him a £1bn fortune, but he’s had much less success (so far) in the world of TV. He was the Alan Sugar figure in ITV’s little-remembered Natural Born Sellers, and assumed a similar role for Sky’s recent Apprentice knock-off The Angel. Both shows floundered in the ratings and disappeared without trace, but John’s undoubted business smarts and wealth of TV experience should count for a lot.
Or should that be Ms X…? Like Columbo’s wife (or Duncan Bannatyne’s sense of charity), Theo Paphitis’s other half is oft referred to but never seen on screen. Is she really the cuddly lady Theo implies or, in fact, the statuesque supermodel we suspect the multi-millionaire is actually married to? Either way, Theo’s right-hand woman is credited with a good dose of homespun sense so is bound to be able to spot a crackpot idea a mile off.
This member of retail royalty has been in business since he was 15, transforming brands such as Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge into the high-street giants they are today. The Monoco-based mogul is No 17 in the Times Rich List, so certainly has cash to splash. And if it’s not his cup of tea, we’re sure his daughter and wannabe media darling Chloe would be happy to invest Daddy’s fortune in exchange for some air time.
Having just sold Virgin Media, Richard is bound to have a bit of time on his hands. He’s no stranger to TV either, having appeared in Friends, Baywatch and attempted to rival the US Apprentice with Rebel Billionaire: Branson’s Quest for the Best. Never heard of it? That’s because it was trumped by Trump, lasting just one series. But surely Branson’s business nous and photogenic facial hair earn him a spot on the DD panel?