Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Will I return to the Dragons' Den?

One of the questions I am most often asked these days - especially given the new series which has just started on BBC2 - is: Will I ever return to Dragons' Den?
(Apparently people believe my re-appearance would introduce a slightly more feminine and compassionate element to the panel.)

The answer is, of course, no!

Firstly, because most of my work these days is in the small business sector, inspiring, motivating and helping entrepreneurs on their business journey - and I don't feel that the 'coliseum entertainment' nature of the show is conducive to encouraging entrepreneurship in the UK.

Secondly, because I'm still in financial re-build following the meltdown of Red Letter Days and not currently undertaking any angel investment.

And thirdly because I'm sure the BBC would never invite me back!!!

But I do agree that the show has become too formulaic and that the panel is in dire need of a shake-up...

But, hey, why ruin a good formula for 'entertainment of the masses' in favour of a show which is more representative and supportive of British enterprise?


julesbrad said...

I still really enjoy Dragons Den but agree that it is not the type of prog that best suits your current activity.
What would make a good programme for your talents would be a series where each episode shows you advising and helping an individual business in need of serious help - make or break time.
This would show the reality of business where decisions and their outcomes can be seen. Not every business would be saved but that is the reality.

Lee Rickler said...

I totally agree on the way DD has gone too mainstream so much so that I don't even watch it any more.

Rachel Elnaugh said...

Funnily enough I suggested that to the producers when I was going through my RLD problems. They then left the BBC and went on to make it, it was called 'Badger or Bust'. TV is a cruel and fickle world!

Bradley Chapman said...


Great post!

You know that I am pro RE for DD. On the show you listened tentatively to the Entrepreneurs that pitched you but somehow you always managed to provide some form of constructive criticism and feedback (except the odd occasion when a fruit and nut was set loose on the set but hey that's TV!)

With any angel investment I feel that it is imperative to see feedback go both ways from the Entrepreneur pitching up any potential deal, likewise in return from an Angel as to why they would or would not be investing. Also and more importantly ,if an Entrepreneur pitches up then some leaving advice that is both humane and professional could/should be offered.... why?

Because an idea is only crazy until it catches on.

I also feel that the panel has gone stale and the British public needs to see some new characters on the show...

Is there any room in your busy schedule to consider heading up business plan through put to a large VC?

Regards Brad

Never Say Die

Stephen said...

I don't understand why you would want to pose such a question Rachel.

I understand that things have taken a nose dive since RLD, but you really must believe that you have nothing to prove. You built one the UK's greatest ever entertainment sectors. Can't you be happy with that????

What the hell would you want to go back on that show again for anyway?

People respect you for what you have done already. I'd say go and have a rest now. You've done more for british industry and british inginuity than any of those hard egos on Dragons Den.

Its all about perspective.

Anne Herbert said...

I totally agree with julesbrad. I think Rachel's personality and talents would be great for one of those shows where the coach/mentor/consultant is shown helping the client through with updates at 3 months, 6 months and maybe even 12 months after her involvement.

I saw the first series of 'Badger or Bust' and have to say didn't think much of her 'kick arse' approach. I'm sure she was asked to do it purely for entertainment value as Ruth does come across as quite a nice person. I saw another episode this week on Sky where she seems to have toned down quite a lot so maybe her producers are responding to feedback.

I am very privileged to have Rachel as my mentor and her approach, support and advise has more reality to it than the stuff they try to put out on 'reality' TV.

I think it would make good TV series - there is so much drama that goes on when you run your own business anyway!


Bradley Chapman said...


Your comment makes complete sense and yes of course I agree with what you are saying...

I am not quite so certain that our dear lady is ready to hang up her boots just yet though! And I don't think it is so much as something to prove, more so, I feel it is what completes us individually that determines when we stop walking the path.

I call it "Fire in the Belly" and I'd bet my last cent that Rachel still has that burning desire within to build something new, something meaningful that "Completes" her as an individual.

You see when you have been through an emotional journey (if you have you will know what i am saying)there a few steps which have to be taken.

(1) Recovery
(2) The Rebuild
(3) The realisation of who we are
(4) The dream of who we wish to become
(5) The new journey

Then again I could be wrong. Only RE really knows inside....

PS- Don't hang your boots up yet Lady we have work to do!

"Never Say Die"

Stephen said...

I do understand Bradley and thank you for outlining the path to recovery so clearly.

I just felt that she has done enough already and therefore has nothing to prove to anyone.

It would seem a retrograde step going back into the world of "reality TV" to me and it is never the same the second time around.

I'd say that things have to be done for the right reasons.

I hope Rachel isn't encouraged to do this, because she feels she has something to prove.

Because, she really does not.

Bradley Chapman said...


Isn't it great when feel passionate about something! This is really good medicine for me..

OK so lets spin it in its head.... Dragon's Den yes agreed done.. Like an ex girlfriend it never works second time.

So let's play with this idea together... My own business which Rachel is reasonably familiar with launched last November.

One of the spin off ideas for my business is a reality TV show where start up businesses compete for a prize find of £100k-£250k..The Panel (Re and others) follow the businesses each week and of course there is a voting off system..with audience participation..

This show could help start up businesses, former bankrupts in fact I am certain that there could be a great PR spin "Down but not out" ... "Raw Entrepreneur" etc..and i think given Rachel's experience that she would be ideal to lead a panel....

My point is this! Perhaps Dragons Den is not the way forward but is there room for a different Reality TV programme (given the success of the apprentice)?

Just a thought provoking question

Regards Brad

PS - Rachel. The BBC is not the only broadcaster.... ITV would love a crack to have a competing programme (perhaps)what about Endemol?

julesbrad said...

A business show which was different to D-Den but still had members of the public trying to make it with their ideas was 'Breaking into Tescos'.

The ideas were food based but it was a slightly more educational for 'trainee' entrepreneurs than some other shows.

Rather than 'reality TV' why not push more for an educational angle which shows people the reality of business and working for yourself

Bradley Chapman said...

Julebrad.... yes I like it but I still think that you cannot beat real life scenarios...

OK so the production company holds mass interviews for budding entrepreneurs each of which has to have their start up capital in place ready to start their business...Or each receive a 20k initial investment perhaps from a large VC of bank that is looking to pick up start up businesses) it is filmed over six months, by that time the second show would also be filmed..

The budding entrepreneurs have access to a panel of sales, marketing and finance guru's who they can ask advice from..

The series starts with the interviews for the entrepreneurs to pitch their idea and the winner receives £250k investment to move their product mainstream, who has clearly created and proved that they have gone from concept to market.

Oh how exciting...

It's not how we fall, it's how we rise after falling.


Rachel come on get Jiggy !!!!

Stephen said...

I have to say that i believe there is a huge deficit of TV based content surrounding the whole area of work based education.

Here is an e.g. My son and my wife and i attended a careers evening where careers people were discussing work experience placements. It was pretty clear that none of the GCSE level kids actually knew anything at all about work, what they would ever want to do and how best to go about it. And yet, they were being asked to choose a work experience placement.

I asked the experts there if they had a video of a series of different jobs that might open the childrens minds - and got a pretty conclusive short answer NO.

I'd say if you got some investment to set-up a TV production business - then "education" (as julesbrad said) is perhaps where you should be pitching. Although this approach could also be utilised for "young entrepreneurs" as well.

And i could see where Rachel would fit there. Not as some "hired ego", but as a sincere business person.

Show them a day in the life of a 100 different types of job. Fill their heads with positive, but honest images. It will help give the kids some direction, which is much needed.

Shame on BBC for not doing this already.

You'd need to speak to someone like Rebecca Shallcross at CBBC...

Bradley Chapman said...

Stephen good idea..

We need to educate our children. I worked as a young boy in London with my father and i have two young daughters and as a single dad it is tough going.

I was thinking prime time TV not Telly Tubbies but i see your point..

Educate the children of today who become the Entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

Sorry i just made myself laugh..

In between Telly Tubbies we could advertise for young Entrepreneurs.

Thanks Buddy you have made my day.

hani said...

Rachael, you mentioned The Princes Trust in an earlier post and how some of their biggest success stories involved kids who had long since been written off by the education system.It would be great to see you involved in a series of programmes showing the progress these kids are capable of making in all walks of life, when given opportunities to be inspired. A positive message instead of the usual negative ones.

svonsenden said...

dear rachel...

from what I read, you won't be on dragons den after this season....so I must say, I will not be watching after this year.

I have the greatest respect for you and what you have done with your life.

I am an artist, and I wish I could have known someone like you, when I was younger.

all my best to you and yours,

sharon von senden

Anonymous said...

I've given up on dragons den now, no longer educational or particularly entertaining.

Recently, I've really enjoyed Mary Queen of Shops - so many vital lessons for retail business & Mary Portas got her point across about the changes that needed to be made within the businesses, without being rude.

So let's hope dragons den gets replaced with an extended series 3 of QOS!

Rachel Elnaugh said...


Yes I agree, Mary Portas is brilliant, I loved her Queen of Shops.

As to my own TV future I have found the best way is to allow the TV producers to find you. If the right thing comes up it will find me; it's not something I would want to push.

Dragons' Den found me, I didn't go searching for it (although I must admit I had sent out a message of 'intent' to be on TV one day from when I was young...)

Anonymous said...

Bradley, interesting comment, "lets educate our children" I was having a conversation of sort with Rachel about education, you seem to have similar views as me from you comment, hmm, interesting, maybe we should talk about it!!


Lee Rickler said...

Enough of the reality shows!
They are 1 reason I stopped watching TV about 2 years ago.
That and the fact that I simply haven't the time any more.

Launching a new company and a new service does, for some strange reason, seem to take up 23 out of 24 hours in every day!

Anonymous said...

But Rachel, wasn't it the case that you didn't tell the, erm, truth about the state of Red Letter Days that they invited you back for the second series?

Rachel Elnaugh said...

Originally I was not going to do series 2 because the filming was scheduled for when I was due to give birth.
But when all the other female entrepreneurs they approached declined to go on the show because of the size of certain Alpha Male egos on the panel, they came back and said they'd re-arranged the filming schedule and would I do it?
At the time we'd just appointed Sir Rodney Walker as Chairman and were working on a pre-IPO funding project to take us to AIM. Yes the company had problems but we were working through them. It was actually on Sir Rodney's advice that I decided to say yes.
It was only later when the re-financing deal fell through at the 12th hour (all due diligence done and legal documentation on the table ready to sign) in early July 2005 that the company faced serious jeopardy.
Lesson learned from that experience: never go into exclusivity if your cash is running out; always keep three deals running concurrently and create the competition needed to push through at least one deal.

Anonymous said...

I repeat my original comment. They didn't know about the true state of the company when you signed on the line. Because you didn't share that with them?

Anonymous said...

I would just like to say there is sumthin beautifully attractive about you rachel. i love watchin the old dregons den with you in it everytime the camera goes to my heart stops. im not a perv im a normal 25 year old guy but i just wanted to say that. I wish you all the best danny wyatt