Although the latest episodes of Dragons’ Den once again feature their share of tense business pitches, savvy deals and terrible puns, fans will notice a key change: the absence of Touker Suleyman.
The multi-millionaire retail entrepreneur and investor will not appear in several editions of the show’s 17th series and has been temporarily replaced by a familiar face.
But why is Touker away and who’s filling in for him?
Why isn’t Touker Suleyman on Dragons’ Den?
In short: he was ill during filming. In a bit longer: Touker had to temporarily withdraw from the show after he was struck down with pneumonia, an illness that confined him to a hospital bed for several days. Thankfully, he has now fully recovered.
Who is replacing Touker Suleyman on Dragons’ Den?
Theo Paphitis and Sara Davies
Former Dragons Theo Paphitis is returning to the den to sit alongside Deborah Meaden, Peter Jones, Tej Lalvani and newcomer Sara Davies.
Having joined Dragons’ Den during its second series in 2005, Paphitis eventually stepped down in 2013 to focus on his retail business. He is the owner of stationery chain Ryman, homeware store Robert Dyas and lingerie retailer Boux Avenue.
“The moment I sat in the chair it was like I had never been away. I did try to reclaim my middle chair from Deborah but she wasn’t having any of it,” Paphitis said about his return.
“Being the first and only emeritus Dragon in the Den is an honour. I enjoyed relieving the current Dragons of some great investments along the way, and rekindling some old rivalry.”
When will Touker Suleyman be back on Dragons’s Den?
Touker was unable to film for the first half of the current series of Dragons’ Den, which means he’s absent for seven episodes until the show takes a break on Sunday 22nd September.
“Touker Suleyman will not appear in this Sunday’s episode of Dragons’ Den due to illness during filming,” the BBC told RadioTimes.com ahead of the episode. “However, he’ll be returning to the Den when the series returns.”
The series resumes with episode eight of the 14-part run before Christmas, and continues in the New Year.
Touker himself said: “I’m grateful that my good friend Theo was able to step into the Den to keep my seat warm while I had some time off. I can’t wait to see him back in action and keeping the other Dragons on their toes, but don’t worry, I wasn’t gone for long!”
Dragons’ Den is at 8pm on Sundays on BBC2