Thursday saw Dragons’ Den back on our screens for its 21st season. The reality television show gives aspiring entrepreneurs the chance to pitch their business ideas to the show’s shrewd multimillionaires for investment.
Filmed in Manchester, this new series sees provides a new backdrop for all five Dragons, who return from the last previous season.
At 70, Turkish Cypriot fashion mogul Touker Suleyman is the panel’s oldest and third longest-serving Dragon, having entered the Den in 2015 for series 13.
Alongside Touker is Peter Jones and Deborah Meaden, respectively the show’s longest and second longest-serving Dragons. Sara Davies, who joined the show for series 17 in 2019, and Steven Bartlett, who was show’s youngest-ever Dragon when he first entered the Den for series 19 in 2021 aged 28, make up the regular panel of five.
Joining them for this series are two guest Dragons, former Manchester United footballer Gary Neville and fashion magnate Emma Grede, who will feature in some of the new series’ 14 episodes.
As ever, tensions are palpable as each entrepreneur enters the Den hoping to impress with their idea and turn their innovative and ambitious business aspirations into reality. The rollercoaster ride will see some budding entrepreneurs crushed with rejection, while others will have their pick of the Dragons as they fight over their right to invest in upcoming business ventures. The highs and lows reflecting the very nature of the cutthroat world of business.
Episode 1 of the new series features a sock company with an altruistic goal, an online store selling luxury pre-loved fashion, and a company offering funky and affordable prescription eyewear, which is ready in just 20 minutes!
Based on a Japanese show, the UK equivalent, Dragons’ Den, premiered in 2005 and its entertaining format has gripped audiences ever since.
Presented by Evan Davis, the weekly show airs on BBC 1 every Thursday at 8pm. You can watch the first episode of the new series, broadcast on January 4, 2024, as well as past episodes on the BBC iPlayer.
Who is Touker Suleyman?
Originally from Gazimağusa/Famagusta, Touker Suleyman, has over 40 years’ retail and manufacturing experience. His company Low Profile Holdings has factories abroad, including in Turkiye, and Touker is behind top fashion brands such as shirtmaker Hawes & Curtis, and womenswear Ghost.
His family emigrated to London from Cyprus in 1958, when Touker was aged 5, settling in Bermondsey, South London.
During this time as a Dragon, Touker has invested in a number of businesses including yogo workout equipment (Beamblock Yogo, S13), hand crafted wooden toys (Timberkits, S13), crafting kits Wool Couture (S15), collagen infused gin (Collagin, S16), sanitiser products (Let’s Sanitise, S19), and motorcycle apparel and protective wear Bobhead (S20).
Main, image, top, L-R: Touker Suleyman, Sara Davies, Deborah Meaden, Steven Bartlett, Gary Neville, Peter Jones. Photo © BBC Studios/Simon Pantling.