A new series of Dragons Den then. A kind of apology for The Apprentice having ended. The wafting hand clearing up the final aroma strains from an Alan Sugar trump. No changes to the line up this time round – it’s the same sour faces as last time sitting in a moody row on plush leather seats in a miserable loft conversion. And, of course, perma-grinning Evan Davis scuttles around downstairs like a friendly cockroach to apply soothing balm to those contestants who descend the stairs shell-shocked and pitch-beaten. Unless they’ve won – which is a rarity and depends on a Dragon’s mood. It also depends on how the result of the inevitable game of one-upmanship between the four bastards turns out.
It’s the dynamic between the Dragons that’s made this show work since the first ever episode graced our screens. Remember when that weird sideburn man who runs disgusting Japanese food-theft disaster, Yo! Sushi was in it? Thank God they got rid of that corporate hippy. And thank God they got rid of the Red Letter Day woman – purchase ledger nightmare that she turned out to be – and replaced her with the woman of all our dreams, Debbie The Bombshell Meaden.
So, to briefly analyse the interpersonal relationships between the mediators…
James Caan: The silent shit. Caan is an outcast who keeps his balls to the wall and strokes his top lip like a semaphore artist waggles his flags. His body language attempts to say ‘I’m taking this all on board’ when it actually clearly says ‘I haven’t a clue what to do as nobody likes me’. His independence means he can’t as easily arrange split ventures with other Dragons, so he’s prone to making easily usurped offers. All sympathy for the outwardly pleasant Caan drops when you realise he made all his money in the slime-soaked recruitment industry.
Duncan Bannatyne: Everyone’s favourite male Dragon. Looks like a washed up 80s crooner – is in fact the head of a fitness empire. His cute quiff, gangly legs and gruff Caledonian manner make him a lovable bastard. He has a tendency to call a spade a spade. In fact, he has more of a tendency to call a spade rubbish, before demonstrating how flimsy it is by cracking it over his knee. He pretends he gets on with Caan (he has to – he sits next to him) and has the respect of the others, but really this guy is the very definition of ‘loner’.
Deborah Meaden: How do I love ye? Let me count the ways. Meaden takes no bullshit, because she knows bullshit like the back of her bullshitting hand – and you’ve got bullshit all over you, you bullshitty bastard. Deborah is transparently in love with Theo as she’s always trying to find ways of striking a deal involving the two of them, and she visibly crumbles when he mentions ‘Missus Paphitis’ in jealous despair.
Theo Paphitis: Despite being loyal to his enormous wife (he said it, not me), Theo is battling constantly with the true love he can’t conceal for enormo-breasted Debs. Well-liked due to his being a tiny little man, Theo often plays the fool before kicking in with a hard lesson in the steely world of business. Never mess with the little man.
Peter Jones: The villain of the piece. Everyone despises Jonesy. Everyone. He’s a physical and financial giant the other Dragons simply can’t measure up against. More likely to make a big money deal on his own than with any other player – he’s occasionally up for splitting the odd deal but is more likely to go off on his own, like some demented cyborg. You mess with Jones, you mess with the force of death. N.B – Jones’s pubes are shaved into a perfect circle – click here for evidence.
A brief rundown of last night’s episode:
Likeable indie lads with a generic sound got signed up by Jonesy in a three-way stand off against a Meaden/Theo vs Dunc/Cann pair of alliances. How a band can be treated as a business I don’t quite understand, but Jonesy has contacts in Sony, apparently. Don’t expect them to be number one just yet.
Nice enough idea – but you wouldn’t buy one. Labelled stupid by the Dragons who rounded on the poor sod because he worked at ASDA. Doesn’t really seem fair. We’ve all got to start somewhere. Death nell sounded when, pushed for financial reports he stated he was ‘never a fan of maths’. Derided by the Dragons for that, elevated to hero status for me.
Air Oasis Ltd
Water from air, apparently. These alchemists (and ex-hoover salesmen) claimed they could make water from the atmosphere then demonstrated their magical abilities. Unfortunately Barry their salesman was a rapid-fire arse and he sank the pitch, even before the water was declared to taste awful – with much theatrical mouth-wiping from the Dragons.
Nice couple who aimed to convert all children into couch potatoes in infancy. Didn’t get very far.
Unimpressive punchbag that counts calories burned. Shot down in flames.
Lay Line Sheet
A comical item, suited to the novelty rack in Urban Outfitters. This sheet had a territory line marked for couples arguing over bed space. I could relate to this one and might’ve made it a whimsical stocking filler. Clearly the Dragons sleep in separate beds to their partners as they weren’t buying it and made a mockery of the Morgan Spurlock fellow who was trying to flog it with his lovely wife. Weirdly, Debs gave them hell despite her involvement with You Doo doll – a similarly amusing and novelty project made by friend of WWM, Sarah Lu. ‘Let’s draw a line under this’ said Theo, in the first weak pun of the series.
Graduate Social Networking
An unprepared contestant tried to sell this idea that nobody could understand. Bannatyne unfairly dismissed it as he’s grumpy he had to pay his kids’ university fees.
Stupid, sub-kitsch panels that display exotic backdrops in your back garden. On your fence. ‘Don’t take offence (a fence)’ said Theo, doubling his crap joke quotient.
If there’s an industry which is based more in nothingness, I’d be keen to hear about it. Party Organisers are usually good-looking, horribly trendy idiots. Yet these two were likable types, and James and Duncan won the battle to get involved despite another multi-Dragon stand off. I couldn’t see the attraction, but then I don’t go to the types of parties where moving trees and silver living-statues are part of the backdrop, thank Christ. Having said that, I don’t go to any parties at all as I’m a miserable turd.
And that was that. By episode three I’ll wager Theo and Meaden will be on the floor in a naked embrace, as Jonesy and Evan Davis slyly thwack their bald marmosets through pocket-lining.
Pre-order that Kleenex, boys and girls.