First Duncan Bannatyne and now Kelly Hoppen have said "I'm out!" to Dragons' Den.
After 11 years and 12 series scowling at would-be entrepreneurs, the longest-serving Dragon handed in his notice last year and will serve out his final episodes when the series returns from a mid-season break on Sunday.
And just ahead of its return, relative newbie
Kelly Hoppen has announced that she too will be departing at the end of the current run.
Which begs the question, who should claim the two spare seats and join Peter Jones and Piers Linney if and when Dragons' Den comes back?
We've racked our business brains and have a few ideas to pitch...
If you’re a woman, she’s the mastermind responsible for filling your house with delightful florals. If you’re a bloke, she’s the lady to blame for the pastel-patterned explosion in your kitchen. But who better placed to fill Kelly’s shoes than Cath Kidston, whose eye for an interior led to the creation of a multi-million pound empire built on all things kitsch. She recently stepped down from her role as creative director so, with a bit of spare time on her hands, we’d love to see her put her business nous to good use. Should could even give the Den a redecoration…
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 was one of two online-only Dragons who give out up to £50k at a time on the website version of the show. Surely the award-winning
entrepreneur, investor and business advisor has done her time in the world of buffering, and it’s time for Julie to step up to the bigger 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…
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 in 2013 – 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...?
Yes, this really is Stuart "Field of Ponies" Baggs: The Brand. Not only does the notorious former Apprentice candidate now have movie star looks that would grace any business entertainment series, he's also a successful telecoms entrepreneur, heading up the Isle of Man's BlueWave Communications. Stuart's been practicing for his next big TV show too, with (relatively) recent appearances on Big Brother's Bit On the Side and Come Dine With Me, no less...
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.
The Ultimo Bra boss has long been linked to a spell in the Den – she revealed back in February 2014 that 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?
Having sold Virgin Media, Richard is bound to have a bit of time on his hands (when he's not sunning himself on his Caribbean home from home of Necker Island). 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?
Who should replace Kelly Hoppen and Duncan Bannatyne on Dragons' Den?