Posts Tagged ‘Deborah Meaden’

Dragons’ Den – 28.7.08

July 29, 2008

I think we can confidently say that long before yesterday’s show, Meaden twigged that she is desired by not one, but all of the Dragons.

Obviously the real battle for Debs is between Theo and Jonesy and, since the mahogany-skinned makeover and the lovely hair-do, Debs has proved she is more than up to micro-managing a love triangle. Last night saw her assertive and prickly nature reach boiling point in the early stages before she settled into a brooding, menacing sensuality for the rest of the show, watching the boys run rings around one another, all desperate to impress the Debsmeister.

Let’s jump in. Once the opening credits were out of the way it was time to get down to business. And by ‘business’ I mean REAL business, conducted in the business world by business men and business women. And Dragons, obviously. It is a tough and fickle world, the business world. Just ask Samantha from Manchester who went up first in front of the reptilian bastards.

She was trying sell them a strange idea based around home security. A little box with motion sensors would make a fake TV turn on whenever it was triggered, fooling hapless burglars (who obviously would never have heard of such technology) and scaring them into doing a runner. It was a dumb idea, already trumped by the fact that you can get those mains-timer things on the market to make your lamps and electrical goods switch on and off whilst you sip cocktails in Aberwystwyth. Debs stepped right up with her critique, safe in the knowledge that all the Dragons possessed a twitching semi with her name on it. She declared herself out swiftly and effectively. Theo managed to find out that this dotty trembler already owns a successful business so the general response was ‘stick to the restaurant, we’re out’.

Next up, the Sinclair C5 of rollerblades as one Dragon put it. Pedal-powered skates that looked too much like hard work and failed to inspire anyone. Theo had a go as he knows what makes good telly, stumbling about on these monstrosities for laughs. All he needs is a pencil thin moustache and some round-framed spectacles and he’d make a great silent movie comedy-hero. Anyway, they all opted out. I’d have opted out too – that kind of rubbish reminds me of the imbecilic berks you see in Central London roller-blading, skateboarding or even tin-scootering down the middle of a busy dual lane in rush hour traffic.

Clive was up next with his opportunity to join him in a venture he called DiamondGeezer.com (I’ll not include a link unless he pays me for advertising). This was essentially a retail website selling posh-rocks. His manner wasn’t particularly endearing despite the potential in his venture. And to add to his woes, Meaden, cushioned by the certainty that all in the Den hold a blue-veined baton with her name on it, screamed that Clive’s been in touch with her before which is AGAINST THE RULES. She was out immediately, bless her. Bannatyne then rather unfairly laid into Clive with a stream of disconnected questions. He was oot.

But then Clive’s luck changed and the other three opted in for a 40% stake. 30%, countered Clive. The Dragon’s did not waver and Clive idiotically turned down the offer on a business which is currently only making him three hundred quid per calender month.

Greetings cards for dogs, one would think, is the preserve of batty old eccentrics. And ol’ Debs proved this to be true by admitting her horses, cats and dogs all receive christmas gifts. More money than sense. The rest of the Dragons, like us right-thinking folk, thought it was ludicrous and kicked it out of the Den.

Impact Items went next with their Space Putty. The boffin who’d created this stuff had dyed his hair and goatee purple, thinking this was a surefire way to secure investment. In the event he got laughed out of the room. Probably a good thing, as I had a sneaking feeling I’d seen this putty stuff before. And I had.

On the theme of kids’ stuff, the next pitcher was asking for trouble with his sinister notion. Tokens kids have to earn through good behaviour in order to buy TV, DVD and PS3 time struck me as being completely unethical. One of the great joys of being a child, though we don’t realise it at the time, is to be completely free of money-worries. Those decisions are made for you so you’re free to kill ants, hang around in abandoned houses and go foraging for pornography in bushes. Why any parent would want to introduce a complex system of capitalism in their own parlour is beyond me and was beyond Bannatyne who told this chap he hopes he fails. Harsh, but probably fair. Jonesy said it wasn’t a bad idea – it was ridiculously mad. Add to the fact the guy could have financed it himself and it seems we had a bit of a slippery snake on our hands. And he seemed so nice…

The apple juice lolly that followed looked tasty, was healthy and was already selling well. But as it was 100% apple juice, packaged tastefully and completely inoffensive, it obviously wasn’t cost-effective. Quality rarely is these days. So everyone was out.

The penultimate item was an illuminated Baby On Board sign which, sadly, was unreadable during the day. So one presumes you’re meant to stick the Baby On Board sign that lights up next to the Baby On Board sign that can be seen in daylight. Weird. Jonesy used this as a platform to mock Baby On Board signs in general, which I reluctantly agreed with him on. They are bloody stupid, when you think about it. Jonesy, sensing he had everyones’ attention, also had a pop at an enthusiastic Bannatyne with ‘when was the last time you drove anywhere in the last 20 years?!’. ‘Fair point’, responded a humbled Dunc.

So – lastly we saw some girl who appeared to have stepped out of the Grazia magazine my missus left in the toilet. She was after money for her venture which went by the dreadful name ‘Neurotica’. She wanted to make fashion for the leading high street stores and was already making headway in the area. Unfortunately, like the apple lolly people, she was only just breaking even. Peter Jones broke all the rules and offered more money than she was asking for in a twist that left a bit of a bad taste in the mouth, from where I was standing.

Jonesy’s always trying to be the cool one. Whether it’s his dalliances with Levi Roots, his foray into publishing with the nauseating rag Wonderland, trying to rock out with Hamfatter or this adventure in fashion, he wants to be a scenester.

Well, sorry Pete. You’re a seven-foot corporate tit who does crap ads for BT and sits in Simon Cowell’s pocket. You’re about as far removed from the notion of ‘cool’ as it’s possible to be, so leave that stuff to Bannatyne – the beating heart of Dragon sophistication. In a couple of weeks time, Meaden will see the error of her ways and lurch towards Dunc’s inimitable, brusque stylings – mark my words.

Dragons’ Den

July 22, 2008

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:

Hamfatter
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.

Travel Cushion
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.

Baby Supporter
Nice couple who aimed to convert all children into couch potatoes in infancy. Didn’t get very far.

Strike Trainer
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.

Paradise Panels
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.

Party Organisers
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.

Dragons’ Den – 16/10/07

October 16, 2007

Bannatyne - 80s ICON 

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.