Dragons’ Den returned to BBC2 last night, having seemingly not been offered the upgrade to a BBC1 slot that the Apprentice took, bizarrely. It’s as good as Alan Sugar’s job interview / assault course and also offers an altogether more tangible reward. Where Sugar offers a year of working on some lame electronic gizmo from the 80s, the Dragons offer cash and their ‘expertise’ (which is probably corporate-code for constant pressure and irritating daily phone calls demanding to know where the profits have gone).
But it’s hard to deny that, from time-to-time, a few dreams have come true. The other day in Sainsburys I noticed some Reggae Sauce in the sauce section. Obviously, I didn’t buy any, but someone might do, one day. And that means cash in Levi Roots’ pocket – and he deserves it because he’s a lovely bloke. Well – he has a nice smile and can play the guitar. To be honest, as far as we know he could be a serial granny-fiddler, but let us give him the benefit of the doubt.
Other winners from past series included that grinning smugstrel who sold broadband to yacht owners (the very thought of it makes me feel like a down-and-out tramp) and that slick publishing gimp who wanted to start the ‘executive magazine’ called ‘Wonderland’. How I scoffed at the time. How I paled when I saw three or four of his glossy pamphlets in my local newsagent and off licence. Seems Peter Jones‘ gamble paid off on that one.
Ah. Peter Jones. There’s that name – it had to come up as he is, let’s face it, the pantomime villain of the piece. Obviously untarnished by the complete failure of his ITV Apprentice rip off, Tycoon, he’s still the lanky streak of expensive piss you remember, all apple-cheeks and scowls with that mop of boyish hair and a face only a blind mother could love. Last night the awful toff made a point of saying, to some chaps trying to sell a dating website, ‘I don’t have any trouble with dates as I’m incredibly good looking, and I’m wealthy’. Wrong on at least one count there, Jonesy.
He’s not the only one with a misconceived notion of their own beauty. Bannatyne, the bequiffed Scot of the group is becoming increasingly similar in appearance to Tony Hadley, lead singer of Spandau Ballet. He looks like his dressing room is situated two decades away, what with the slick Martin Kemp back-comb and the loosened skinny tie. It’s not a good look for a man who looks like a dead baby chick that’s fallen out of a nest, that’s for sure.
These two self-love experts actually cast the other three Dragons in a more sympathetic light. That is, at least, until Theo Paphitis and Deborah Meaden round on some unsuspecting victim and tear him to shreds, like Mickey and Mallory Knox in pinstripe. I swear those two misfits are having a passionate affair. I see visions of their lovemaking in my most torrid nightmares. Last night Duncan Bannatyne joined them (not in a threeway shag, thankfully, but in a bullying) as they gave a chef a kicking for having a ‘ridiculous pink quiff’. Ironically, had he died that quiff brown, his look wouldn’t have been a million miles from Duncan’s own.
Typically, the first batch of money went to a couple, clearly already from a wealthy background. Because they were well spoken, presentable, had a decent idea and would clearly jump through hoops, Peter Jones flattered them almost to the point of fellatio and cunnilingus until they broke down sobbing, with no choice but to submit to his slimy fawning.
The other handout went to a deserving young fellow who was looking to franchise a gold-plating machine. A solid idea, at first highly criticised by Duncan B and Theo ‘The Loverman’ P, but then bought into by new Dragon, James Caan – a high flier from the Recruitment industry. This new Dragon is a lot more ruthless than the softly-spoken Aussie he replaces and is fast becoming a silent-assassin type. In the first pitch of his Dragon career, he broke the heart of a David Beckham lookalike. But he rounded the show off with a shrewd deal. Good editing to place that particular pitch at the end of show one as it establishes Caan as a proper Dragon immediately, rather than have him look like a spare prick at a wedding for the rest of the series.
Terrible people, decent television.