I’m generally speaking a bit ‘meh’ about Dragons’ Den. Evan Davis is a nice chap, I have a soft spot for Theo Paphitis, and find myself curiously interested in Peter Jones’ choice of sock. He always brings to mind a 6ft 7inch five year old boy. But other than that, it can be too cringey for pleasure. If one of that scary panel pounded me with questions about my finances, I’d shriek like a cartoon girl and jump into Evan Davis’ arms (from which I fear he’d never recover). And I cannot stand Duncan Bannatyne, he really gives me the willies.
But I caught some of the latest series after noticing Grace Dent’s high praise for new addition to the dentists’ waiting room panel of big-bucks-wielding dragons. And Ms Dent is right (of course she is). Hilary Devey is bloody marvellous. I might tune in just for her. Visually, there’s something of a Dynasty vibe about her. Gravelly of voice and a bit feline around the eyes. She brings to mind a curious mixture of Bet Lynch, Kate O’Mara and Elsie Tanner. She takes absolutely no crap, but is fair, reasonable, and helpful when appropriate. But fools beware. She’ll chew you up and make you into a huge shoulder pad.
The first person to try their luck was a woman with an idea for a website where people can contribute money towards kids’ presents. She totally lost her confidence and couldn’t deliver her pitch at all. The dragons were kind, but it was Hilary who was really warm, which allowed the woman to regain her poise. It then transpired that she was extremely smart and capable – she left school at 15 and became the youngest woman on the Futures selling floor (no, I have no idea what that means either, but it sounds impressive).
Duncan ‘the beast’ Bannatyne was unnecessarily vicious with his “I’m out” speech, because his kids always take proper wrapped real presents to parties. Well, nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh. I bet they are bought and wrapped by his wife (or member of staff) rather than him. But Hilary’s intervention led to the woman getting not one, but two, dragons. The cute Little and Large team of Theo and Peter.
Other less successful pitches included: a floaty ball for toilets to stop unpleasant ‘splashback’, demonstrated with a bit of banana and orange squash chucked down a clear-walled bog. The Japanese are light years ahead with their techobogs of ultra cleanliness and bottom joy. No splashback there. Or bananas. Also – little jackets for brass instruments when the weather is brass monkeys and a massage chair that is supposed to encourage you to lose weight (“get up off the chair you slob”?). The chair guy was waffly and unclear, and got savaged by Hilary for being unprepared in a way that brought to mind the fiercest, cane-wielding headmistress.
Another great moment occurred with a guy (successfully) pitching his solar panels. The Dragon panel turned on each other like a pack of hyenas. Not pretty, but very funny. Duncan B had a little ego related hissy fit and the rest just carried on horse trading. Glorious stuff.
Posted by Inkface