Who should replace Duncan Bannatyne on Dragons' Den?

Could it be "Innocent Smoothie" Richard Reed's chance to make the move up from BBC3 - or could Theo Paphitis make an unprecedented return?

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Who should replace Duncan Bannatyne on Dragons' Den?
Written By
Radio Times staff

So, Duncan's out of the Den. After 11 years and 12 series scowling at would-be entrepreneurs, the longest-serving Dragon has handed in his notice.

But who should join Peter, Hilary, Kelly and Piers and claim the coveted, empty seat? We've put our thinking caps on and come up with a few suggestions... 


Richard Reed

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”.


Julie Meyer

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 was 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 bigger screen?


Levi Roots

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 Caudwell

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 – even if he isn't exactly the "young" blood Bannatyne was hinting at.


Theo Paphitis

Could lovely Theo be set to make a Den comeback? OK, it's more the stuff of our dreams than actual reality but if Mr Paphitis was missing his leather perch he would no doubt receive a warm welcome from his fellow Dragons. After all, it's not as if Theo's been a complete stranger to telly since his departure last year – we've seen him appear on Question Time and ITV's The Agenda before showing up in BBC documentary Famous, Rich and Hungry. And how happy would Peter Jones be to get the other half of his little-and-large double act back...?


“Mrs P”

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 – and she topped RadioTimes.com's poll for Theo's replacement so there's certainly demand for her appearance.


Philip Green

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 has a fortune of £3.88bn according to 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.


Michelle Mone

The Ultimo Bra boss has long been linked to a spell in the Den – she revealed back in February she'd been asked to do the series five times. Her response? A tantalising "never say never", plus the admission she's got the firepower to handle her fellow investors – "Probably everyone else does call me a Dragon!" Her addition to the Den could create an unprecedented female majority and she's no stranger to cameras, having already appeared on BBC rival The Apprentice, plus a spell on Celebrity MasterChef and Loose Women. Will she finally accept her spot in the Den?


Richard Branson

Having 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?

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