Dragons’ Den has never been a particularly pleasant affair.
People with a business idea appear in the Den, wide-eyed and hopeful, only to be torn apart by the panel of investors with a forensic eye for making money and the things which stand in the way of that goal.
And this year was even less, thanks to Covid, according to veteran Dragon Deborah Meaden.
Filmed between lockdowns, the production, like many others of its kind, found itself having to adapt to a new set of filming restrictions.
“The difference, actually, happened outside of the Den,” says Meaden of the impact of Covid.
“The last night the country went into lockdown. So, once we finished filming, we couldn’t eat in the Den because we had technically stopped work, so we had to go back to the hotel and get a takeaway.”
Being used to more luxurious surroundings, it was an experience the multi-millionaire business woman doesn’t care to repeat.
She recalls: “We were the only people in the hotel, in the restaurant, under their security fluorescent lights with chairs still up on the tables. They cleared a couple and we were all sat two metres apart. I mean, the glamorous life we Dragons lead…
“We looked at each other and thought, ‘Well, it doesn’t get better than this!’”
With the formidable line-up of Peter Jones, Deborah Meaden and Touker Suleyman returning to their seats as part of the latest instalment, Tej Lalvani has also announced that series 18 will be his last in the Den.
Making the switch from BBC2 to BBC1, the returning show will see budding entrepreneurs once again vie for the Dragons’ investment, as they undertake a three-minute pitch that could make or break their business.
Sara Davies is going into her second series as a Dragon on the hit show after the first brought with it a number of important lessons for the Crafter’s Companion founder.
“I’m really conscious of body language,” says Davies. “I remember going into the edit after the first series and they were putting together the first clips and I met the editors working on it.
“They were like, ‘We love working on the clips with you in because every feeling you’ve got oozes out of every pore of your body, you don’t hide it’.
“I’d never thought about it before.”
Dragons’ Den, BBC1, Thursday, 8pm
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