Dragons’ Den UK review 2008
As many of you “people” know in addition to his extensive philanthropy, womanising and TV panopticising Aerial Telly is also a professional bettor, making crazy paper at the expense of the bottom-feeding scum of the bookmaking industry. This means that he’s no stranger to risk assessment, liability management and putting his motherfucking money where his motherfucking mouth is. This makes him rather a large fan of Dragons’ Den, the Pop Idol for entrepreneurs show where nascent business people come along to persuade a panel of five investors (the eponymous Dragons) to stump up some cash in exchange for a stake in their businesses. The second series wound up on Thursday leaving a trail of broken dreams and, just occasionally, the beginnings of some beautiful business partnerships.
“Jock McSlasher started out in the ice-cream van game but there’s no suggestion that he was part of any kind of ice-cream van war but let’s just say that you dinnae want tae fuck with him y’ken?”
The dragons are composed of Duncan Bannatyne (played here by Hugh McIllvaney) a rough, tough, bluff and, yes, guff Jock from the school of hard knocks. Jock McSlasher started out in the ice-cream van game but there’s no suggestion that he was part of any kind of ice-cream van war but let’s just say that you dinnae want tae fuck with him y’ken?
Deborah Meaden (played here by Zelda from Terrahawks) made it big in leisure and retail and has the advantage of actually looking like a dragon. She’s a no-nonsense from-the-hip straight talker so she’s a lot like the Jock in that respect. Theo Paphitis (played here by Armando Ianucci) is a tiny business magnate who has an impressive record of turning shite businesses into quite good ones. He has an unhealthy obsession with girls’ bras and pants having taken over both Contessa and La Senza but there’s no suggestion that he spends his time forcing his male workers to dress up in lingerie then wanking over them. Fond of asking “why should I give you £100,000 of my kids’ inheritance?”. Yeah, like they’re ever going to see a penny.
“Deborah Meaden (played here by Zelda from Terrahawks) made it big in leisure and retail and has the advantage of actually looking like a dragon.”
Richard Farleigh (played here by Desperate Dan) is a tiny-eyed granite jawed Australian private investor who is still rocking the same haircut Jason Donovan sported in 1989. He’s a no-nonsense from-the-hip straight talker so he’s a lot like the pissed Jock and uppity dyke* in that respect.
“He’s a no-nonsense, from-the-hip straight talker so she’s a lot like every piece of shit venture capitalist you’ve ever come cross.”
Peter Jones (played here by Peter Hitchens) made his loot by setting up a tennis academy at the age of 16. Jones describes himself as an “ultrapreneur” which he explains is “a radical spirit whose restless pursuit of innovative business excellence is unbounded; recognised as a super-heroic leader of hearts and minds”.
He’s a no-nonsense, from-the-hip straight talker so he’s a lot like every piece of shit venture capitalist you’ve ever come cross.
“The dragons take turns to ride the willing entreprenwhore, sometimes doubling up, spit-roasting them senseless shouting things like ‘show me the money!'”
As the hopefuls file into the den one by one they seem to be reliving the dream where they’re back at school and have turned up in just their pants. Nearly every one of them is petrified during their presentation. The only people who seem to enjoy this part are the ones whose ideas are either extremely good or extremely bad – both presumably thinking they have nothing to lose. The dragons nod, frown and file their claws as the pitch takes place and wait for the “are there any questions?” moment when they can finally get to work on their victims.
The grilling takes the form of a televisual gangbang with the dragons taking turns to ride the willing entreprenwhore, sometimes doubling up, spit-roasting them senseless shouting things like “show me the money!” and “what’s your three-year projection, bitch?”. Piles of cash lie around like in Tony Montana‘s mansion, as if to mock the hapless beggars who dare violate the Dragon’s inner sacristy. Very few walk out with their dignity intact.
“The type of blinkered single-minded determination required to develop a business idea is exactly what trips up many of the near misses.”
It’s very entertaining watching these begging letters and finding out how capitalism works on its unforgiving frontline. Some enter the den horribly unprepared and the voyeuristic element of watching someone’s delusions torn apart by the dragon feeding frenzy is undeniable. The type of blinkered single-minded determination required to develop a business idea is exactly what trips up many of the near misses. Bottom line arguments always win the day – it’s all about the ducats, baby.
The best thing about it: The naked terror of the contestants
The worst thing about it: The slightly self-satisfied post-mortems from the dragons
The verdict on Dragons’ Den: “Louis disagrees… but you’re through to the next round”
Marks out of 10: 7.5
*Far from being mindless homophobia this is actually a hilarious reference to A Very Peculiar Practice. So recognise, bitches.