The Dragons’ Den

Have we really resorted to this? Dragons Den (BBC Two) submitted me to the most glass eyed, tawdry excuse for television last night… and it did absolutely nothing different to the usual schtick.

I watched as men drew a crude diagram of a pink sausage and some arrows. I watched as a woman unveiled a some curtains with some fishing line tangled up in them. I watched as a woman cracked open my mind to show the rest of the world the dancing spoons that have been haunting me with their inane, grinning faces.

All the while, the assembled dragons (who do not deserve a capital ‘D’) stroked money that wasn’t ever destined to be actually handed over as a victor’s reward, rather, placed their to instill fear and trepidation into ordinary folk who have done nothing wrong.

Effectively treated like the beggars in Victorian Britain, the dragons puff and sigh, roll there eyes at everything to imply that Time Is Money. Yep. And this particular time of your life sees you getting paid, handsomely I’d assume, by the very people trudging up the stairs.

Some, of course, gave ideas deemed worthy enough to get a handshake and a shafting from the grinning, pinstriped ogres… but neither that, nor the failures managed to even raise the slightest of smiles or interest.

That’s because the show has lost wood. It’s impotent as opposed to important. The same tired old grimaces and put-downs which of course, prods people like me into the same, tired old criticisms.

Dragons Den feels like a rubbish groundhog day where people get insulted and everyone at home has begun to lose interest. The only thing that could save the show is the introduction of a man willing to knock Duncan Bannatyne out for being too glib.

Fingers crossed.

Serial entrepreneur, venture capitalist and multi-millionaire, James Caan, is to join the next series of Dragons’ Den to be screened on BBC Two this autumn.

Caan, who lives in both London and Cannes, is founder and CEO of private equity firm Hamilton Bradshaw, through which he has invested millions in both start-ups and mature businesses in sectors ranging from retail and leisure to financial services and technology.

Commenting on his signing to the Den, Caan said: “I’m thrilled to be invited to be in one of the highly coveted ‘Dragon’ positions. In business I make a point of investing in people, as I’m a great believer that it is people who create a success in business through their passion and conviction.”

Caan has been creating, building and selling businesses for over 20 years.

In 1985, he set up the Alexander Mann Group, one of the UK’s leading HR outsourcing companies, and achieved a turnover of £130million before selling it to a private equity firm in 2002.

Caan also founded an executive headhunting firm which he successfully expanded globally through its Humana International brand and grew to over 147 offices across 30 countries before it was bought by a New York-listed company.

Helen Bullough, Executive Editor for Dragons’ Den said: “I’m delighted that James Caan is joining the other Dragons for this new series. He’s got a great track record as an entrepreneur himself and a unique approach to spotting investment opportunities – I’m sure he’ll make quite an impact in the Den.”

A graduate of Harvard Business School’s prestigious Advanced Management Programme, in 2003 Caan was named PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Entrepreneur Of The Year.

In 2001 he won the Enterprise Of The Year Award for his outstanding business success and was recently a Resident Entrepreneur Mentor for MBA students at London Business School.

With his wide-ranging business and entrepreneurial experience, James Caan is set to be an exciting addition to the Dragons team, joining Peter Jones, Deborah Meaden, Duncan Bannatyne and Theo Paphitis in the Dragons’ lair.

Dragons’ Den is about to go back into production and the programme-makers are keen to receive applications from budding inventors and entrepreneurs who have got an idea, venture or small business that they think could catch the Dragons’ eye and requires some investment to take it to the next level

The entrepreneurs are: Duncan Bannatyne, Deborah Meaden, Richard Farleigh, Theo Paphitis and Peter Jones and they all have big businesses… But who will they invest in?

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