Theo Paphitis reveals the truth of Dragons' Den! 'We're actually all good friends'

(Image credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima)

Former Dragons' Den (opens in new tab) star Theo Paphitis (opens in new tab) says appearances are deceptive - the often combative, even aggressive, nature of the BBC2 show masks the fact the Dragons are actually good friends.

Theo told What's on TV he'd had dinner with Peter Jones, Deborah Meaden and Duncan Bannatyne recently. Surprisingly, the successful businessmen and woman were 'quite happy to ring each other up and talk ideas over and talk about problems and issues'.

The mutual support is a far cry from the competitive nature of the Den, but Theo says it wasn't always like that. Insecurity in the early days of the long-running entrepreneurial show meant relationships were fractious.

The mood in the Den improved, though. "I think it builds up over time and security," he said. "Certainly in the Den, early doors, there was pretty much a lack of security among some of the Dragons. That slowly went and as people became more secure in their thinking and positions and everything else, it made it a lot easier."

Theo left Dragons' Den in 2012 after eight years, to concentrate on his business empire (which includes the Robert Dyas, Rymans and Boux Lingerie brands), but he paid tribute to the producers who keep the show fresh by changing the dynamics of the Dragons. He said they'd been brilliant in casting the Dragons all along and there was no reason to think they'd get it wrong.

Watch ex Dragons' Den star Theo Paphitis talk about his time on the show and his TV career, above.


Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix. 

An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.