Dragons’ Den blog: Episode 1 Series 9 (2011)

Posted on by Nell Frizzell

Danger! Says the oddly-lit sign. Keep out! Says the wobbly wall notice. “Brreaaaaeeaammmmnmm” screeches the particularly unexpected electric guitars until behold! The Dragons are standing on top of the very same tower blocks our beloved Lord Sugar was contemplating chucking himself off just weeks ago. Is all British business enacted on helipads and fire escapes? Is this some sort of anti-CCTV strategy?

Now, fans of the show cannot fail to notice that there is a new dragon in town. She’s northern, she’s brunette, she’s glamorous and she made her millions in the haulage industry. It’s Hilary Devey – the den’s answer to Cheryl Cole. And she’s strapped a couple of high fashion airbags on to her shoulders for good luck.

The first investment opportunity comes in the form of ex-city trader and mum Georgette Hewitt. Now, quite why Georgette has decided to make her presentation by bike is something of a mystery, seeing as this is basically a website to ease the financial dealings of children. Perhaps there just wasn’t anything to lock her bike to outside – maybe this warehouse is actually surrounded by moorland.

Anyway, Georgette’s site, The Present Club, “treats children to an online experience”.  Sadly, all the coloured boards and talk of presents has made Georgette freeze up like a penguin in Farmfoods. She just about chokes out the words £60,000 before Peter Jones has to take over. “It’s kind of a wedding list for kid’s birthdays,” says the lost Jonas brother. Funnily enough, both Jones and Theo Paphitis rather like the idea of a site where you can just transfer money to children without actually entering a shop. I honestly had no idea that business men didn’t simply yearn to zoom up the aisles of the Early Learning Centre in one of those yellow plastic cars.

Sadly, the idea falls a touch flat with Duncan Bannatyne. “This is a terrible, terrible, horrible idea,” says the den’s Braveheart. Luckily Georgette still has her ‘retail guru’ and ‘technology expert’ on side. Not to mention a £60,000 for 30% offer. I tell you, there’s money in that there internet.

And so, from children’s toys to urinal splashback. Some guy called George takes the fairly unorthodox approach of walking in to a room full of millionaires and trying to take a piss through a drinking bottle. Well, what can I say, it worked for Armitage Shanks. Sadly, the Egglu fails to grab any of the dragons by the business bladder, leaving George to stand, morosely, holding his bottle of orange urine and enormous Easter egg. Never mind George. In the words of Hilary, “Where there’s muck, there’s luck.”

Next up is Alan. Alan is looking for £100,000 to boost his Maruji Beach idea. According to Alan, a vibrating bed and some hectoring podcasts will ‘cure’ the obesity problem in this country. Well, having a shaky nap time – or ‘sit and slim’ as Al calls it – does sound a heck of a lot nicer than going to the gym. Although I must point out that my grandmother used to have a vibrating chair where she would listen to Channel 4 Racing and smoke John Players Specials for about sixteen hours a day, and she was 18 stone with legs like purple turnips.

“You make my foot itch, mate” says Hilary, which either means she wants to kick him in the nads, or it’s some sort of haulage code for an unseemly act. Deborah Meaden, on the other hand, tells Alan that life’s too short for her to go in to business with him.

Next up is WarmaHorn – the only brass instrument jacket named after microwaving keratin. The verdict on these neothene niceties? “Look up Brass Bands investors in the Yellow Pages.” You’ll find it there, just above brothel heaters, I checked.

Following WarmaHorn, some guy gets his balls out. Oh no, sorry, he is the ball. A human cannonball, which only partly explains the giant toothpaste tube behind him, painted with “The New Generation.” Luckily, he’s brought a small cardboard model and some family photos with him to explain things. Apart from the canonballing part. That’s covered by the legendary ‘Human Cannonball Code.’ Grown men have died for less. The only way he can reveal the mystery and magic of lobbing yourself head first out of a tube with explosives up your bum is if they invest some money.

Mr and Mrs Ball met on holiday, when he flew passed her and in to a net. Like You’ve Got Mail, but with slightly cheaper dental work. Sadly, despite their enthusiasm for the lovely couple, none of the dragons want to invest. “I’m pretty sure human cannons don’t grow on trees” says Deborah. I only wish I had her confidence.

There is a similar fate for some fitted, super-heat-resistant oven gloves. Or ‘glovens’ for those of you who have lost teeth recently. Apparently, the idea of an easy-to-use, more-heat-resistant oven glove is absolutely ridiculous. Yeah, take that wrist blisters and spilled food.

The final pitch comes from Paul Daniels. Oh okay, it’s not Paul Daniels, it’s Ray Reardon.  And he’s given up both professional magic and snooker to sell solar panels. Oh okay, it’s not Ray Reardon either, it’s former bodybuilder Chris Hopkins. “The perky roofer from Halifax” is looking to break in to the southern market and get a 20% ownership. He’s halfway through negotiating a 30% offer from Duncan Bannatyne when the rest of the Dragons get all shirty about being overlooked. Like single women at a synagogue mixer. Hilary slides in with a 26% offer and Deborah makes a rather sultry offer whilst fondling her pen.

Duncan Bannatyne then launches an unexpected Northern Uproar offer by telling Chris that he should only consider a joint offer from him and Hilary – he will not work with Deborah or Theo. This is a strictly above-Birmingham deal. Poor Chris’ eyes start swivelling like plates at a Greek wedding before cutting to the chase and accepting an offer from the two southerners. Because he wants to break in to a Southern market. And because he likes good humus.

And so, as the floating blue egg of stray urine bobs beneath the surface of neothene posing pouches, I notice that we’ve come to the end of the show.

See you all next week. Oh, and Evan? We’ll need to check your pockets on the way out.

What did you think of the first episode of this series of the Dragons’ Den? Which businesses would you have invested in? What do you think of the new dragon, Hilary Devey?

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