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Dragons' Den is a venture-capitalist television programme that originated in Japanmarker where the format is owned by Sony. The format, which is now broadcast internationally, consists of entrepreneurs pitching their ideas in order to secure investment finance from business expert — the "Dragons".

Show format

The contestants are usually product designers or service operators who have what they consider to be a viable and potentially very profitable business idea, but who lack funding and direction. They pitch their idea to five rich entrepreneurial businesspeople, the eponymous "dragons". They have, before the show, named an amount of money that they wish to get, and the rules stipulate that if they do not raise at least this amount from the dragons, they get nothing. In return, the contestant gives the dragons a percentage of the company's stock, which is the chief point of negotiation.

Once the contestant has made their presentation, the dragons then probe the idea further, often revealing an embarrassing lack of preparation on the part of the contestants or uncovering troubling facts, and consequently rejecting the investment, or revealing a sound business proposition and offering to invest capital in return for equity.


Dragons' Den series have been produced in numerous different countries. Apart from in Japan, where the original show format was maintained, in all other locations the show names, structures, and styles are based upon the UK version.


In the UK, Dragons' Den is broadcast on BBC Two. The Executive Producer is Dominic Bird and it is hosted by former BBC economics editor Evan Davis. The Dragons are/were:

Seat Series 1 Series 2 Series 3 Series 4 Series 5 Series 6 Series 7
Peter Jones
Simon Woodroffe
Theo Paphitis
Deborah Meaden
Doug Richard
Theo Paphitis
Duncan Bannatyne
Rachel Elnaugh
Richard Farleigh
James Caan

Online Dragons' Den

The BBC website also has an online Den hosted by Radio 1's Dominic Byrne and featuring two new Dragons; Shaf Rasul and Julie Meyer. Entrepreneurs are able to pitch for a maximum of £50,000, and as is with the television version, have to get offered all of the money or they will walk away with no investment. In contrast to the television version however, entrepreneurs have to apply by sending in a three-minute 'raw pitch'. BBC Two have commissioned this as 30-minute programmes that are broadcast on Wednesdays from 9:30pm until 10pm.


In Afghanistan, the show is called Fikr wa Talash.


The Australian version of Dragons' Den was broadcast on the Seven Network and hosted by Andrew O'Keefe. Different from other versions, the host ran through the outline of the business with the contestant then negotiating with the Dragons for a deal. It was produced by Michael Horrock. The Australian Dragons were:

  • Peter Higgins
  • Sarina Russo
  • Simon Reynolds
  • Darryn Lyons
  • Suzi Dafnis

The Seven Network announced in December 2005 that the show would not be back for a second season after poor ratings.


Dragons' Den was first broadcast in Canada on CBC Television on 3 October 2006. Season one featured eight 1-hour episodes, including a final "where are they now" edition. Season two expanded this number to ten 1-hour episodes, with "where are they now" segments inserted into the last few episodes of the show. Season three was broadcast from September to December 2008 with 11 episodes plus a one hour special which was broadcast in January 2009. Season four started September 30, 2009.

It is hosted by Dianne Buckner. The Dragons are:

  • Arlene Dickinson (Season 2-4), the owner of Venture Communications, a marketing company with offices across Canada
  • Robert Herjavec (Seasons 1-4), who sold his IT security firm at the height of the dot-com bubble for over $100 million
  • Laurence Lewin (Season 1&2), co-founder of La Senza, a chain of lingerie shops with more than 310 stores throughout Canada, and, via corporate licensees, a further 320 stores operating in 30 countries around the world. Lewin died on 12 November 2008. He left the show for health reasons, which ultimately claimed his life. The show broadcast a dedication in memory of Laurence on 17 November 2008
  • Kevin O'Leary (Season 1-4), co-host of Business News Network's SqueezePlay, was formerly the President of The Learning Company, which was sold to Mattel for $3.7 billion in 1999
  • Jim Treliving (Season 1-4), a former Royal Canadian Mounted Policemarker officer who now owns Boston Pizza. In 2005, his restaurants generated well over $500 million in sales
  • Jennifer Wood (Season 1 only), one of the most influential executives in Canada's beef industry. Her career in the cattle business began in 1990, and she now owns a ranch with over 20,000 head of cattle
  • W. Brett Wilson (Season 3&4), is a founder of FirstEnergy Capital Corp. He is part owner of the English football team Derby County. He is also involved in numerous charities. He replaced Laurence Lewin

Czech Republic

In the Czech Republic, the show is called Den D (The D-Day).

It first aired on 31 March 2009 on Czech TV (CT2 channel), in a very similar set up to the British version of BBC.

The show is hosted by experienced radio host Jan Pokorny, and the dragon investors are:

  • Ivan Pilny - former GM of Microsoft in Czech Republic, Chairman of the Board of Czech Telecom and entrepreneur (1st series)
  • Marta Novakova - founder and CEO of U&SLUNO software company (1st & 2nd series)
  • Ondrej Bartos - serial entrepreneur, consultant and venture capitalist, Partner with Credo Ventures (1st & 2nd series)
  • Dana Berova - former minister of informatics, entrepreneur and Business Development Director of Gartner (1st & 2nd series)
  • Tomio Okamura - Czech-Japanese entrepreneur in travel and retail, he brings Japanese tourists to the Czech Republic and sells Japanese products to Czechs (1st & 2nd series)
  • Michael Rostock - investment banker and advisor withz Venture Investors Corporate Finance (2nd series)


In Finland Dragons' Den is called Leijonan kita. The show started running in Finland on 27 September 2007 on MTV3 channel. The show is hosted by Anna Sorainen. The local Dragons, or Leijonat (Lions in Finnish), are:


An Irish version of the show began in 2009 on RTÉ ONE, the state broadcaster. It is presented by Richard Curran, Deputy Editor of The Sunday Business Post. The Irish dragons are:
  • Gavin Duffy
  • Sean Gallagher
  • Bobby Kerr
  • Sarah Newman
  • Niall O'Farrell

The dragons have appeared on television in Ireland, in promotion of the series, on The Tubridy Tonight Show, on RTÉ ONE. RTÉ started broadcasting show promos after Christmas as part of their winter line-up.

The first episode was broadcast on 19 February 2009.


In Israel, Dragons' Den is entitled Hakrishim (which is Hebrew for "The Sharks"). It is produced by Gil Productions and is broadcast on Channel 10. It is hosted by Guy Zohar. In the Israeli version, there are 6 dragons who rotate their appearance weekly. The first season was broadcast during the summer and fall of 2006. The dragons in season 1 were: Ze'ev Holtzman, Israela Shtier, Aviv Tzidon, Oded Dessau, Jacky Ben-Zaken, and Nir Sharatzki.

The second season began being broadcast on Channel 10 on 24 May 2007. As in the first season, the dragons rotate their appearance weekly. Aviv Tzidon and Jacky Ben-Zaken returned from the first season and were joined by the following new dragons:
  • Yossi Moldavsky
  • Nir Barkat (who, in 2008, was elected as mayor of Jerusalemmarker)
  • Amir Eyal
  • Roni Ross
  • Amos Luzon


Titled Manê no Tora (Money Tigers), this original version was created by and broadcast on Nippon Televisionmarker from 2001 to 2004. It was the first entertainment programme in the history of Japanese television that dealt with the concept of business investment. During its three year run, as many as 16 business executives appeared in the programme as Tigers.

Middle East

In the Middle East Dragons' Den is known as Dragons' Den: Al Aareen (The Den). It is broadcast on Lebanon's Future Television, which is available via satellite. The show receives contestants from various Arab countries.

The panel of Dragons for the 2007 series consisted of:

The show has been scheduled for a 2008 series.


In the Netherlands the show was broadcast in May 2007 on Nederland 3, every Friday at 20.25 (+1 GMT). The second season will begin being broadcast in May 2008 on Nederland 3, every Monday at 21.25 (+1 GMT). As in the first season, it is hosted by Jort Kelder.The dragons are:

New Zealand

In New Zealand Dragons' Den is broadcast on TV One and hosted by Rawdon Christie. Initially the UK and Australian series were broadcast, but a local version was produced and screened in 2006. The series is produced by Eyeworks Touchdown. The New Zealand Series 1 Dragons are:

Production company Eyeworks Touchdown is currently soliciting applications for a second series of Dragons' Den.


Nigeria's adaptation of Dragons' Den was broadcast weekly in 2008 on the AIT Network and was produced by Storm Vision.

The Nigerian Dragons were:

A second series is now being re-commissioned.


There was a Russian version of the format called Capital.


The British version was on air in Sweden for several years on TV8 and BBC Prime. A Swedish version called Draknästet (English: "The Dragons' Nest") was broadcast in 2009 on Sveriges Television.

The Swedish Dragons were:

United States

In 2008, television producer Mark Burnett signed a deal with format holder Sony to produce an American version of the series. The series on U.S. television is titled Shark Tank.

The U.S. network ABC has ordered a pilot episode which will be produced by Sony Pictures TV.
On 9 October 2008, a casting producer announced that The Shark Tank was accepting applications for a pilot, giving entrepreneurs two weeks to submit their ideas. The pilot was filmed 6-9 January 2009 in Los Angeles.

The Sharks are:

See also


  1. SVT pressrelease
  2. Sony, Burnett dive into 'Shark Tank', Variety [1] 13 February 2008
  3. ABC to Swim With Burnett's 'Shark' [2]4 September 2008
  4. First Shark Announced [3]28 January 2009
  5. Introducing the Sharks [4] 30 March 2009

External links

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