“Has one of the Dragons spotted something their rival investors have missed?” Yes! “Could this be an astonishing turnaround?” It could! Will Peter and Theo test out a product by lying on it? Of course they will!
Oh, it’s good to have Dragons’ Den back – and this scorcher of an opening episode not only ticks all the classic Den boxes but also introduces us to a fantastic new Dragon.
With shoulder pads up to her ears, the hair and make-up of a Vulcan and a fist full of sparkling rings, Hilary Devey looks like Cruella de Vil’s slightly saner sister. Yes, her last name is pronounced very similarly, too. But, no, she does not wear the skins of puppies.
In fact, Devey is the first to give words of encouragement to a faltering pitcher who treats us to some of the longest silences in the history of the Den. And while a product designed to prevent “toilet splashback” – complete with demonstration – horrifies Deborah Meaden, “Where there’s muck there’s luck,” rasps Hilary, her Bolton roots and 40-a-day habit both very much in evidence.
But visitors to the Den should not let Devey lull them into a false sense of security – she breathes fire when she has to. She’s utterly incensed by one particularly smug and evasive pitcher, finally roaring at him, “You make my foot itch, mate! I’m not amused. I’m angry. I’m out!”
It’s a good debut for the new Dragon and while I liked the thoughtful and laid-back James Caan, who she replaces, I think the Den will benefit from a spot of new blood – and a Dragon who might just spill some.