Saturday, 13 October 2007

Dragons' Den Hits New Low

I wanted to hang fire about commenting on the latest trailer for the new series of Dragons' Den, which has caused so much controversy on the web this week, until I had actually seen it.

Which I did this morning.

Just in case you haven't seen the trailer, it features the line up of 5 Dragons, arms folded looking down their noses at a miniature man on the floor beneath them doing his pitch, after which Deborah Meaden crushes him underfoot with her red soled stiletto shoe.

And quite frankly I think it's pretty shocking.

Shocking firstly that the BBC production team are so badly out of touch with what is going on in the UK Small Business Sector that they can even have thought to put together something which is so derisory and unsupportive of new entrepreneurial talent in this country.

Shocking secondly that the 'Dragons' actually agreed to allow themselves to be featured in this way.

Whatever shreds of credibility Dragons' Den may have had left as a 'business show' have now finally evaporated. The trailer finally portrays the show for what it really is - Coliseum TV created exclusively for the torture of those who manage to get featured on the show, and entertainment for the masses.

Not to mention an ego massage for the 'Dragons' - who all seem to be stuck in the oh-so-outdated '80's 'greed is good' alpha business stereotype. An image which is completely out of touch with the majority of the UK's successful entrepreneurs, who are generally hugely supportive of those just starting out on their business journey.

What a real shame for a show that started out with so much promise to be a great role model for British Business.

In my view it's time for the BBC to recognise that it exists for more than just to produce shows which can achieve good audience ratings - and seriously review the show's creative direction.


Jon said...

Hi Rachel

On the whole I tend to agree - the entertainment part of the equation is being pushed to the detriment of the eduational & informative.

DD is at that point in its history of having to push the entertainment angle to maintain the ratings. Victim TV just like Big Brother.

Yet there is a sufficiently sized audience of business people in the UK who want to see a Business TV program that is both educational & informative and yet still entertaining.

My colleague & I (he incidentally did a very 'entertaining' pitch on DD) have a format idea for a program which includes mentoring, pitching, idea development etc in fact the whole process from start to launch & beyond.

We believe the idea is both original and entertaining but doesn't fall into the trap that DD is now and indeed that Tycoon fell into.

Yet getting TV production companies to even look at the idea let alone take it seriously is a dark art known it seems, only to insiders.

I'll continue to watch DD as it is good entertainment & occasionally there are still some interesting ideas but as for learning something, I think that is not in the script now.

It does though continue to show the never ending supply of creativity & entrepreneuralism in the UK together with an equally liberal dose of the raving bonkers.

Good luck with whatever you're doing now.


Ian said...

TV for the lowest common denominator is the way to go.
Maybe they could team up with Trisha afterwards and have a program where members of the punters family can tell the dragons what they think of them.
Then they can all swear at each other and fight on live TV.

My TV show idea is called:
Total Compromise - in which two people with fundamentally diametrically opposed beliefs are shut in an airtight room that gradually fills with sewage until one of them agrees to everything the other says.
(My other idea was Bungee pube shave challenge, but that isn't really suitable for this blog, although a DD celebrity version may go down well with the blogs owner)

Rachel Elnaugh said...

Hey Ian - why not let's get together and make a pilot!

That would make interesting viewing :-)


Jon Hemmings said...
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Honda Black said...
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Nick Bush said...

I haven't watched the first episode yet but I did complain to the BBC about the new advert. Their response mad me feel a bit like the man crushed underfoot and has prompted a post on my own blog.

I'd personally love to see a 'soup to nuts' programme on how ideas get to market. Based on market research with a sample of one (my 11-year old son - a fan of DD, Tycoon and The Apprentice) I believe it could be popular.

I think I feel another e-mail to the BBC coming on...

Francine Pickering said...

It strikes me that there are two types of viewer for DD. The type that the BBC is chasing, who would watch a competition for Britain's best toilet scrubber just to laugh and point at the lousiest toilet scrubbers.

And the type who are involved in small businesses and who were glued to the first series or two because it offered insights into the businesses and investors, and for whom DD is now 'might watch' rather than 'must watch'.

That said, I'm at home this evening, so I'll probably be tuning in.

Dortmund said...

I don't see why everyone is so worked up about the trailer. That's all it is - a trailer - designed to grab the viewer's attention, and highlight the drama that can go on in the Dragon's Den. Why call it 'Dragon's Den' in the first place? Because it can turn out to be a daunting place.

More reasonable would be the objection that it claims to give an examination of the value of an idea purely as a business proposition. It doesn't - the Dragons invest in ideas that happen to interest them personally as much as promise a return on investment.

Like that 'Wonderland' magazine Peter Jones bought into. Anyone who knows anything about publishing knows it's a hard market to break into, rarely delivering quick returns. Jones hardly asked anything about the guy's knowledge of the market, he just seemed to go for it because he liked the idea of owning a swanky magazine. Vanity perhaps?

Speaking of which, the exchange with the online dating guys has to be the highlight so far. Hilarious!

reddawg said...

The Original Ripoff Report Text:
In 1999 the television company owned by Ziff Davis called techtv was asking for television submissions and I sent two and I never heard from them, However, in 2001 they were advertising my idea as their own! I wrote a little script that I called the Internet Pitch, A.K.A. The Big Idea. The show was played on the web and hosted by Mark Wahlberg. The shows concept was were budding entrepreneurs took their business plans or ideas to investors to win a web package and start up money and a grand prize for a million dollars. Well in 2001 when I learned of this I wrote to the Better Business Bureau and filed a complaint, however, techtv claimed I did not send that idea, however, I absolutely did! I do not know where my idea got stolen, in the mail room or from some damn secretary or a top Executive!!! However, some scum ball stole my concept and used it exactly as I wrote it, never changed a damn thing!!! They used the Original name as well as the Nick name to promote the show. It was my own fault for submitting an idea that I never got protected by a copy write......What really makes me angry is that Sony bought the Idea from ZDNet / Techtv and used it to create American Inventor As well as the Dragons Den and the newly soon to be released version the Sharks Tank. It is nice to know that this scumbags have no problem living high while I have suffered all these years... Ken Paradise, California

reddawg said...

Well Rachel;

If you really want a great show, I still have a hot one that will be very entertaining and very profitable for a large amount of charities........But since I been ripped off before, I can't send it until I get it copy righted.
People don't have to believe me, but go to the BBB and check the files yourself for San Francisco in 2001 against Techtv.

reddawg said...

What I said since it isn't clear to you. "Where did Sony Get the Idea?"

I wrote the original concept which became the Dragons Den and American Inventor.

I wrote the Concept for the Show in 1999 for Techtv which was owned by Ziff Davis of ZDNET.

In 2001 I filed my complaint when I learned that they stole my idea and was playing it exactly as I wrote it.