Season 9, Episode 1

There’s a new dragon in town…

Dragons Den has returned to our screens and this season it’s bought us a brand new dragon. Replacing James Caan (you know, the nice one who left the den after publicly trying to buy a baby off a flood victim and a row with fellow dragon Duncan Bannatyne over tax) is Hilary Devay and judging by her photo alone, boy does she look mean!

Doing a little bit of research you learn she’s a smart, strong independent business woman who, after being turned down for a bank loan in 1995, decided to sell her house and car in order to start up her business. Of course, this worked out for the best and is now a multi-million pound business empire. She’s no stranger to TV either — the eagle eyed among you may recognise her from Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire where she donated more than £250,000 to a music project.

What we’ve all been waiting too find out though is just how does Hilary stand up next to the other dragons?

When the first entrepreneur of the new series forgets how to talk about eight seconds into her pitch, new dragon Hilary offers some reassuring words and even some encouragement to carry on while the other dragons just sit and practice shooting a money fuelled combination of boredom and hated from their eyeballs.

Don’t be fooled into thinking she’s some kind of pussy cat thrown into the den, though; in this first episode alone she manages to prove that she’s as sharp edged as her Judge Dredd-esque shoulder pads. She asks smart, relevant and tech savvy questions, and if you don’t know the answer then our new dragon will eat you alive. Even Duncan Bannatyne started to back away and shrink into his chair while Hilary was ripping some ill prepared businessman a new one.

Other than Devay the series remains unchanged from eight previous seasons. To ensure nobody leaves untraumatised, Shrek-alike Evan Davis still lives under the stairs. Theo Paphitis and Peter Jones jostle for alpha male in a constant game of ‘mines bigger than yours’. Duncan Bannatyne manages to simultaneously radiate misery at every opportunity and have a constant look of ‘I used to be poor but now I’m not, so dance for me peasant’ Deborah Meaden continues to remind me of my old boss and quite frankly it scares the hell out of me.

Dragons Den looks set to continue its winning formula this series with more of what we all know and love, and it’s good to see that the new dragon has a bite as bad her bark.

Garry Pinches

Updated: Aug 01, 2011

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